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Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon

Review: Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon  (83.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published September 29, 2016

Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Whiskey produced and bottled by Frank-Lin Distillers, Products Ltd. who have been a bottler and producer of distilled spirits since Frank Maestri founded the company in 1966. (Frank-Lin currently operates out of their new facility in Fairfield California with annual capacity of over 10 million cases of wines and spirits.)

Buck Bourbon is bottled at 90 % alcohol by volume.

BuckIn the Bottle 4.5/5

Buck Bourbon arrives in a nice oval bottle with a long neck and fine synthetic cork. The label looks nice and I like the added ambiance of the black and white picture of the bucking bronco. This picture not only gives representation to the name of the whiskey, the old style black and white image adds a subliminal hint that perhaps this is an older brand than we might suspect. The top label provides information on the bottling proof (90 %), tells us the whiskey is “Hand Crafted”, and that is a “Small Batch” product.

I appreciate good marketing, and the bottle and its label do a great job of enticing the customer to give this whiskey a try.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I sampled this bourbon at the after party of the Wedding Celebration for my good friends Ally and Dennis. Rather than using a customary glencairn glass, I poured a dram into one of Dennis’ small rocks glasses and sat on his back deck examining the whisky. It had a nice amber colour in the glass, and the initial nose brought forward light grassy smells with an added light sweetness of caramel and butterscotch and a gentle sweep of vanilla. Somewhere in that mixture was a mild impression of graham wafers as well. I allowed the glass to sit, and aromas of corn syrup began to separate from the butterscotch, with wood spice and hints of rye grain. The grassiness which I noticed initially gave way to a more herbaceous quality which reminded me of heather with a light licorice scent melded into it.

All in all I quite like the nose, it is pleasant as it makes me a promise of a nice whiskey to enjoy.

In the Glass 50/60

I took my first sip neat with no ice. The grassy quality I had noticed on the nose dominated that first sip. The spirit was dry and somewhat bitter with a light woodiness and hay-like flavours of dry tobacco and sawgrass. Some sap and wood spice added to the dry quality of the dram making my mouth pucker. Fortunately, a light sweetness of caramel and corn syrup pushed through, although I felt that the balance between the sweet and the bitter definitely leaned away from light sweetness of butterscotch and caramel.

I added a cold whisky stone to the glass and found the spirit much nicer as some of the spicy dryness was quelled; however, it was when I added an equal portion of ginger-ale that I found true happiness. The ginger-ale (Schweppes if you must know) provided both a welcome sweetness which balanced the serving for me, as well as a welcome complimentary flavour which paired very nicely with the winding grassiness and the light rye flavours I was tasting within the whisky. The bourbon flavour pushed through the ginger-ale, and I spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on the whiskey and soda combination enjoying the fall weather, as well as the company of Dennis and Ally’s friends at the after party.

In the Throat 12/15

The spirit has a dry spicy finish carrying flavours of oak sap and dry tobacco through the exit. There is a touch more astringency than I prefer although this seems to be more a reflection of the 45 % bottling strength than it was of any apparent youth in the whisky. Although the dry lightly bitter finish was not preferred when I sipped the spirit neat, I did find this dryness and light bitterness very welcome when I mixed my bourbon and ginger-ale sipping drink.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Sampling Buck 8 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon was overall a very pleasant experience. Things started well with a nice bottle presentation and a very pleasant nose which held the promise of a very good whiskey. Sipping the spirit neat was somewhat disappointing as a dry grassy bitterness seemed to dominate the spirit; however once I added ice and then a bit of ginger-ale soda, the whisky found its place as a stellar mixer.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes:

bourbon-and-ginger-sam_2760Bourbon and Ginger

2 oz Buck 8 Year Old Bourbon
2 oz Ginger ale

In a rocks glass add ice
Pour Bourbon over ice
add splash of Ginger-ale

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


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