Ancient Age 80 Proof

75 Dull

It just isn’t very exciting.

glencairn-amazonThis truncated review was originally posted as part of our Budget Bourbon Battle Royale.  See the original post here.

Ancient Age is a Buffalo Trace-produced product distilled in Frankfort, KY.  The label itself has been in production since 1946, and clocks in at 80 proof.  It is made using Buffalo Trace’s Mash Bill #2, the higher rye recipe, which it shares with Blanton’s Rock Hill Farms, Hancock’s Reserve, and Elmer T. Lee, all top-shelf bourbons in their own regard. So that makes this the most affordable label of the mash bill by a considerable margin.  Is it the same bourbon?  Nope.  But for under $13 for 750mL, it doesn’t need to be.

ANCIENT AGE 1Appearance: Very Pale.

  • Nose: Lots of corn, some light vanilla, rye, and pepper.
  • Taste: Again, the corn and vanilla are the main players here, but there is a slight rye spice at the end.  It’s somewhat thin, without a great depth of flavor, but definitely fits the Buffalo Trace profile.
  • Finish: Very dry, very short.  The only lingering flavor is the mild rye citrus and black pepper as it quickly fades.
  • Score: 75/100.


Really, Ancient Age is not a bad bourbon.  It just isn’t very exciting.  At its price point, it doesn’t really need to be.  It’s straightforward Buffalo Trace on the nose and palate, without much burn and with very little lingering flavor.  That being stated, it is not the best budget bourbon in its price range or in its category, as it falls well short of the recently reviewed Evan Williams Black Label, to name one.

The scoring system is a standard 100 point system based on 4 categories, taken in order.

  1. Appearance: 15 points
  2. Nose: 25 Points
  3. Palate/Taste: 35 Points
  4. Finish: 25 points
  • 95+        Epic
  • 90-94     Excellent, Good representative of its style
  • 85-89     Solid sipper
  • 80-84     Drinkable, but potentially flawed.
  • 75-79     Low quality, flawed, use as a mixer only
  • <75        Rot Gut, avoid



About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder and Editor of ModernThirst. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country, and attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. Since college, he has dabbled in beer, bourbon, wine tasting, beer making, and currently works in finance. He has also been published on He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in the Central Kentucky area, and consulted professionally for bar menus, bar concepts, whiskey label naming, new blend selection, and whiskey flight menus. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at

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