Charter 101

Charter 101 Bourbon – Review

Old Charter 101 Background

Charter 101
Charter 101

Charter 101 comes from Buffalo Trace Distillery as part of their #1 low rye mash recipe. The Old Charter brand has roots back to 1874, but in more recent history the it was a part of the United Distiller (later reorganized as Diageo) portfolio until the 80’s From there it was sold to Buffalo Trace parent Sazerac.

Old Charter had an 8 year and 10 year expressions, but the 10 year is gone and the 8 year lost its age statement. Old Charter 8 is still available at 80-proof, but the 8 is just a number on the bottle to make loyal customers feel warm and fuzzy. Like the new Old Charter 8, Charter 101 also lacks an age statement.


Bottled at 101-proof.  No age statement. Buffalo Trace #1 mash of less than 10% rye. MSRP – $27.99 (2016 Price)


Caramel, honey, fruity. Light char. Vanilla. Roasted corn. Grainy, kind of barn yard straw.


Light, sweet. Pleasant oak char then sawdust. Corn comes through. Fruity with the edge of solvent. Medium-low astringency in the finish with slight bitterness.


I don’t know the age on Charter 101, and I don’t want to assume based on price, but I’m thinking this is a younger Bourbon. In Charter 101 I’m getting the heavier corn and sawdust flavors that to me age out with more time in the barrel. Not quite my preference, but this is still some pretty easy drinking stuff. Given the 101-proof and reasonable price it certainly is a fine candidate as a mixer.

I get what I think of as Buffalo Trace signatures of fruity with the edge of acetone. Also not much in the way of rye that jives with their low-rye #1 mash recipe. Buffalo Trace Bourbon I think matches up well and tasting these side by side the resemblances are apparent. While actually not generally my preference, I like Buffalo Trace better as it seems a more mature Bourbon for my tastes. Although, it’s about $10 or so more expensive, so there’s that.

To sum it up, Charter 101 is a good Straight Bourbon that might be on the younger side, but carries a nice punch of a proof and an attractive price. It’s not my choice for sipping, but you could do a lot worse. Charter 101 seems a quality budget bottle to keep around for mixers.


Try a Glass – 2.0 out of 5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

Charter 101 is a low rye Bourbon, which is a little unique in my classifications. In this price range, you could check out the mentioned sibling Old Charter 8 and Buffalo Trace. Both have the same Buffalo Trace mash recipe. From there, a little high rye recipe could be Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, Wild Turkey 101, and Old Forester.

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