White dog whiskeys aren’t usually very exciting, but these are more so, since I got to try Buffalo Trace’s white dog right off the still when I visited there. With these two bottlings, Buffalo Trace offers a look at the differences between wheat-heavy and rye-heavy whiskeys, sans aging time.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because you might be recalling Heaven Hill’s Trybox series, where a rye white whiskey was pitted against a corn white whiskey. Since no one actually makes 100% corn (aged) whiskey in the real world, that test was a bit of a red herring… but this one, wheat vs. rye, is, I think, more instructive. Originally sold as a novelty item as the distillery, the new make spirit is now being sold nationally… though at $32 equivalent per 750ml bottle, these experiments are a bit pricey unless you’re pretty far down the whiskey rabbit hole.
Buffalo Trace White Dog Wheated Mash is 114 proof, from a mash composed of corn, wheat, barley. (Exact mashbill figures aren’t available.) The effect is, as with most white dogs, a bit overpowering: Corn character and raw ethanol notes compete to create a funky, difficult experience, even after cutting it down with water. Normally I enjoy wheated whiskeys quite a bit, but in this white dog it doesn’t really show much depth. B-
Buffalo Trace White Dog Rye Mash is quite a bit hotter at 125 proof, which makes comparison difficult. But even without a lot of watering down, the rye, barley, and corn recipe shows itself to be surprisingly more flavorful, with exciting spice notes and a lingering earthiness that manages to cut through the rawness and big, sour corn funk. Yeah, it’s still white dog, with a big slug of grain character on the finish, but it’s a big improvement over the Wheated Mash. Color me surprised. B+
$16 each (375ml bottles) / buffalotrace.com