Ancient Age

It is a commonly held belief that “whisky snobs” dislike all forms of American “whiskey” or bourbon; similar, in fact, to the belief that American beer is made from one part water and one part make-believe. Both of these statements are, in fact, incorrect – America has some of the best (in my opinion) breweries in the world (Anchor, Flying Dog, Left hand, Sierra Nevada, the list goes on) and there is no drink more apt after a big old summer barbecue than an American bourbon. So while Scotch whiskys are what I will be reviewing most of the time, I will also take a look at several bourbons, starting with Ancient Age.

Ancient Age is distilled by the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, and is by definition a Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It is worth noting that the Buffalo Trace Distillery is the oldest in the US, and has been around since around 1770, but under different names. Other whiskies distilled on the site include Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s and Eagle Rare. Ancient Age is one of the oldest whiskies in the distilleries portfolio, and has been around since 1946. Until the launch of Buffalo Trace, Ancient Age was the distillers’ best selling expression.

So, is it any good? The answer to that question is Yes and, directly and without hesitation, No. It is far from a top-tier bourbon, but then you wouldn’t expect it to be top tier considering its low price. From a value for money point of view, it is definitely not a bad purchase. The nose reveals distinct hints of toffee, vanilla (in true bourbon fashion), caramel and just a hint of ginger. The palate is fairly dry, while still presenting the sweetness often associated with bourbon, and somewhat spicy. While the flavors and aroma are both pleasant, my one issue with this bourbon is that it is, unfortunately, somewhat watery and lacking of that syrupy thickness that one would expect from a good Kentucky Straight.

Eye: Somewhat lighter than your average bourbon, golden brown.

Nose: Fresh corn, caramel, toffee, vanilla, ginger, perhaps a touch of rye.

Palate: Presents much the same characteristics as the nose, but with a slightly dry and watery feel. Added hint of spice.

Overall, I would definitely say that this is worthwhile purchasing if you’re looking for bourbon below $30. In the same price range I would pick it over Jim Beam 3 times out of 5, but would probably (partially for nostalgic reasons, granted) choose Jack Daniels 4 times out of 5.

Want to buy this whiskey? Available in: USA & World (click)UK & Europe (click)


  1. an address to your story was provided by Christian Dillstrom, the mobile + social media marketing mastermind, so you must be doing a fantastic job!

  2. Adam clark says:

    I’m no ancient age fanboy, but I will give it this: it IS bourbon. Jack daniels is tennessee whiskey. There is a difference. I prefer evan williams at this price point ($12us), but the grocery store near my town doesn’t carry it. I think ancient age is an ok drink if you don’t have cash for a good good bourbon. Btw, you get raped for bourbon over there. I wonder if it’s the same over here. We pay $27usd for 750 mL jameson or johnnie walker red. Do you overpay that much for american whiskey?

  3. Hi Adam,

    Quite right you are, I suppose my closing remarks may confuse people slightly – I was merely trying to provide a point of reference that most people are familiar with. :) As for price rape, we get it far worse than you I’m afraid! A bottle of JW red is about £17 here which is basically spot on $27, but that’s for 700ml. Evan Williams, which you mentioned is $12 over there, would set you back £25 ($40) or so here.

  4. mike walkup says:

    i have a 1933 bottle of Ancient Age unopened. would it be any good ?

  5. Drinking a bottle of ancient for $7,59+ 7% tax. Love the states.


    drunken swede

  6. @Mike – That’s very difficult to say.. It is commonly held that whisky/whiskey does “age” in the bottle, though of course not in the same sense as it ages in a barrel. This is especially true for opened bottles.. but even whiskey kept in an unopened bottle is likely to have changed character considerably over such a long period of time. Whether for the better or worse, well, that’s impossible to say without trying it! Are you looking to sell it or keep it for yourself? If the latter, I would suggest buying a new bottle as well to use as a point of reference, which could be very interesting indeed! If you do, I for one would love to hear your findings!

    @Anton – Christ on a bike, that’s cheap!

  7. i have a 1 gallon bottle of ancient age unopened from 1972,.anyone know what this is worth?,it’s a huge bottle!

  8. Brand: Ancient Age
    Clear glass -Square tall bottle – Cream label printed in black & red – Rounded label in blob seal – Gold screw cap..Good evening send pictures from an old your bottle. would like to send me some information. has found it in an old warehouse 44 years ago my grandfather.thanks

  9. I’ll tell you what a ’72 gallon sized bottle of Ancient Age is worth! It’s worth drinkin’!

    – #1 AA Fan

  10. I have an empty gallon Ancient Age bottle and the pouring cradle hanging stand. (cherry wood) The bottle sit in the cradle and swings on an upper pivot, allowing an easy pour without lifting the whole bottle. Real fancy set up. Any idea what it’s worth?

Speak Your Mind