What does a country music superstar and one of the world's most famous distilleries have in common? Well, let's find out! Right out of the gate, we're going to tell you that we were surprised that this wasn't a marriage between the 8-time Grammy winner and Jack Daniel's, but we'll get to that later.
Chris Stapleton has teamed up with Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley to offer this first-of-a-kind blended whiskey with a celebrity association from the Frankfort, KY landmark. Gimmick? Genius marketing? When this bottle was released just a few weeks ago we heard comments all over the board. Most whiskey enthusiasts were skeptical, but admittedly, they "had" to have that bottle.....or three. Some people cried foul and said this was all a poor attempt at boosting sales for both the country crooner and the distillery.
If you know anything about either one, you quickly realize that they don't need to boost their sales. Both parties are doing just fine. Stapleton has a net worth of about $25 million and climbing. Buffalo Trace invested $1.2 billion into their expansion in order to keep up with demand. So, you can debunk the sales boosting theory.
While many country music fans welcomed the collaboriation between the two brands, some questioned why Stapleton, who is admittedly now sober, would add his name to the bottle. Well, back up a second. Stapleton recently told Rolling Stone that while he isn't exactly sober, he has cut back on his drinking. The miscommunication was from a previous interview last year, but "CS" admits that he does enjoy drinking alcohol (he has about 200 bottles of bourbon at home), but not to the volume he used to in younger years.
We love Buffalo Trace. We really, really enjoy all of their products that we have tasted to date. When we heard that Harlen Wheatley and Chris Stapleton had joined forces to marry a bottle of blended whiskey, we were pretty excited about the opportunity to find and taste this one. We really thought that Jack Daniel's would have snagged Stapleton first, especially with his remake of the hit song, "Tennessee Whiskey". But......we're not mad! Stapleton had been approached by distilleries and brands before, but the joint effor with BT felt right.
So let's talk about Traveller Whiskey. Over 50 whiskey blends were sampled and number 40 was the winner and what made it to the bottle. While the mash bills, age statement and specific sources are under wraps, Buffalo Trace says that this blend is from "award winning distilleries". This was blended and bottled at the Frankfort distillery. The bottle features a roadmap of the back woods and the liquid inside is a gorgeous light to medium brown. Once you pop the cork you're going to love the abundant aromas of vanilla extract, ooey gooey butter cake and carmel syrup. The nose is definitely on the sweeter side, and that carries over to the first flavors you experience with that intital sip. Lightly salted nuts and kitchen spices finish this out with a somewhat short finish.
Almost immediately after Traveller Whiskey was released, we saw several 'taters' flipping these bottles on the secondary market for upwards of $150 per bottle. Take our advice and don't pay that for this bottle. Is it one worth having in your whiskey library to share and talk about with friends? Sure. Is it worth an inflated secondary price? Not in our opinion.
No matter what your opinion is of this bottle, we can all agree that it is getting harder to find, is on the minds of collectors and enthusiasts alike, and it has created some buzz in the whiskey world. Selfishly, we would love to see more artistic collaborations between Buffalo Trace and other music superstars, but that remains to be seen. Cheers!
ABV: 45% (90 proof)
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Drink The Bottles score: 85/100