Hancock's President's Reserve

Hancock's President's Reserve is a single barrel, 88.9 proof offering from Buffalo Trace.  It  derives from Buffalo Trace's mash bill #2, the same recipe used to create Ancient Ancient AgeJohn J. BowmanBlanton'sElmer T. Lee, and Rock Hill Farms (review pending).

The bourbon is named for Captain Hancock Lee, an intrepid Virginia explorer who established a small camp in present day Franklin County almost two decades before Kentucky became the Union's 15th state.  Hancock and his brother Willis Lee (namesakes of modern Leestown, KY) surveyed the area where, today, the Buffalo Trace distillery produces and ages some of the world's finest whiskey.

Thanks to "Hancock," Buffalo Trace is able to date whiskey production on its modern day site to 1775.  Their claim is supported by the discovery of Englishman Nicholas Cresswell's diary.  On June 12, 1775, after hunting buffalo near the Kentucky River, Creswell paid a visit to Capt. Hancock Lee "at his camp on Elkhorn Creek."  Cressell recorded his experience: "Went to Captn. Lee's camp, who treated me very kindly with a dram of Whiskey."

Cresswell also wrote in great detail about Indians, his buffalo hunts, his subsequent feasts (i.e. "Buffaloe humps make for the finest steaks in the world") and his time with Hancock and Willis Lee (e.g. "Captn. Lee's brother gave me a Rattlesnake skin about four feet long.  Very hot.").  There is no denying that Bourbon is truly America's Native Spirit or that Hancock's is a bourbon to be shared with friends.  

Hancock's President's Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Buffalo Trace Distillery
88.9 proof
$70 at ABC in Richmond, VA

Color: Rich copper; very red in the bottle, less so in the glass.

Nose: Light on the nose and predominantly sweet- apple juice, Juicy Fruit gum, vanilla frosting, and the slightest oak influence.  Pleasant, but takes some effort to draw some discernable notes.    

Tasting Notes: Like its nose, the sip is light, but entirely delicious.  Honey, caramel, vanilla, some lemon, some light rye spice, and a flash of oak.    

Overall: B-. Hancock's is extremely smooth but fails to impress most bourbon drinkers when compared to other, higher proof offerings.  It is very light bodied, and features a "too quick" finish.  On the BT mash bill #2 spectrum, Hancock's tends to fall to the back of the pack.  However, it reflects truly classic bourbon notes and makes for a great "starting point" for friends/family who don't drink barrel proof monsters every night.