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A clear Bourbon? "Impossible!" you say. And you're right.

A clear Bourbon? “Impossible!” you say. And you’re right.

Proof: 125
Color: Clear
Nose: corn syrup, rye, spice
Taste: spices, grains, rye
Finish: warm & smooth
Value: Not so much.  (But Who Cares?!?)

What am I doing reviewing a clear alcohol during Bourbon Week?  Ah, because Buffalo Trace White Dog is, in a nutshell, unaged Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Whiskey.

“White Dog” or “White Lightning” refers to any unaged distillate that would eventually become whiskey (if aged).  But by not aging White Dog in charred oak barrels, none of the characteristic “barrel notes” are present.  Therefore, you won’t taste toasted nuts, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and so on.

At this point, you’re likely thinking that White Dog is some boring booze.  Imagine taking Jewel of Russia Vodka, sweetening it a touch, then ramping up the alcohol content by about 50%.  Does that sound boring?

Let’s not mince words: Buffalo Trace’s White Dog is sweet, hot, and complex. (Sounds like my wife…)

Backpedaling a second: American whiskey distillers are trying to figure out ways of getting product to consumers faster.  With the Bourbon Shortage, releasing “white whiskey” sounds like a good plan, right?  Well, even better for distillers, they’re able to charge a premium for the stuff!  The bottle pictured in the article is 375ml, half the volume of a regular whiskey bottle.  And yet I paid nearly the same price for White dog as I do for 750ml of Buffalo Trace Straight.

White Dog is sweet, hot, and complex.

With no barrel notes, the spices that you get from White Dog are completely the result of the malted barley and rye present in the mix.  The rye really comes through, like the lead guitar in a 70’s rock band, while the malted barley lays down a funky rhythm on bass.  The corn?  Well that’s the lead singer, right up front belting out a sweet melody.

I have to warn you: you need to take two separate sniffs of Buffalo Trace White Dog because the first whiff will knock you backwards.  At 125 proof, you could get drunk just sniffing the stuff.  (Note: the remains of the ounce I used for this review are filing up my home office with intoxicating fumes.  I think the cat is getting drunk just breathing.)

When sipping White Dog, be careful.  If your lips are chapped, it will hurt.  Not kidding.  Oh, and don’t even think about shooting this stuff.  That’s a world of hurt that won’t go away for about a half of a hour.  You can calmly sip it and actually enjoy it if you’re a fan of regular aged Bourbon.  Yes, it’s hot.  Yes, it’ll get you drunk on one ounce.  But it’s really rather nice.

When sipping White Dog, be careful.

Having said that, should you go out and buy a bottle?  Is it worth it?  Likely: No.  It’s pricey, its uses are limited, and unless you’re surrounded by Bourbon drinkers that little bottle will sit on your shelf for years.  However, if you catch the common cold or get a sore throat often, White Dog will kill whatever is wrong with you.  Seriously. One shot = no more sore throat!

Could you mix Buffalo Trace White Dog? I suppose, but how?  Maybe two ounces in a gallon of pineapple juice?

You wouldn’t sit and sip White Dog all night.  You wouldn’t pour shots for friends during a party (unless you want hate mail later).  You would, however, use it to take the edge off of a particularly bad day… or use it to start a really good evening!

Final Rating: 89 out of 100