A ‘trace’ is a wide path, beaten out by herds of buffalo. These traces were followed by explorers and early settlers who travelled to the Wild West. Buffalo Trace was named for the Great Buffalo Trace which cut its course to the banks of the Kentucky River, the buffalo forded their way across the river, eventually reaching the Great Plains. The area was rife with distillation during the eighteenth century, the water was limestone rich and the locality proffered excellent cereal growing conditions.
A distillery was built in 1857 and was the first to use steam power. During the 1880s, the distillery boasted climate controlled warehouses and was also the first to ship the product down the Mississippi river. The distillery was one of but four that continued to run during US Prohibition, legally. It was granted a permit for distillation for medicinal purposes. Once Prohibition was repealed, the facilities were managed by Albert Blanton. He was committed to his art and, accordingly, produced the best product he could. Named the George T Stagg distillery until June of 1999, at which point it was renamed Buffalo Trace, the distillery produces a range of upmarket bourbons including the acclaimed Eagle Rare and Blanton’s.
Since 1990, the distillery received more awards than any other North American Distillery; notably Malt Advocate hailed it as their 2000 Distillery of the Year and in 2005 Whisky Magazine heralded it as their Distiller of the Year. Buffalo Trace is also noteworthy for marketing the first single barrel bourbon, released in memory of Albert Blanton, who produced a single barrel whiskey to enjoy with friends.