Hancock’s President’s Reserve is fourth in my mini series looking at Bourbons from Buffalo Trace’s mash #2. Other reviews include single barrel Bourbons Blanton’s, Elmer T Lee, and Rock Hill Farms. I’ve got one more bottle in mash #2 and it’s the bottom shelfer Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star.
Hancock’s President’s Reserve Background
I found very little information on this one. Seems the forgotten single barrel from Buffalo Trace. Hancock’s President’s Reserve was introduced in 1991, which is a year after Buffalo Trace expanded its lineup for Rock Hill Farms. As mentioned, Hancock’s President’s Reserve comes from Buffalo Trace’s mash #2 with a relatively higher rye content than its mash #1 recipe.
This bourbon is named after Hancock Lee who was an early settler near Frankfort, KY. He’s credited as being among the first to distill near the current Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1775. Like this Bourbon, not a whole lot information seems to be known about Lee.
No age statement, but thought to be 8-9 years old. Bottled at 88.9-proof. Uses Buffalo Trace mash #2 which is thought to be about 15% rye. $49.99 (2016 MSRP)
Apple juice, fruity, caramel. Light. Feels like I need to pull out the aromas.
Again fruity with apple, grapes. Seems thin and not much beef to it. Not much rye presence or alcohol warm. Pretty mild and easy drinking. Balanced to the sweet and fruity. A little toasted oak with mild astringency on the finish.
Basically unexceptional at this price. The lower bottling proof probably hurts this one, but does make it go down pretty easy. A watered down Elmer T Lee would actually seem a fair description. The flavors are mild, inoffensive and generally fruity and sweet. So certainly a pleasant drink, but just not much to chew on. That’s all fine and good, but the price tag on this one doesn’t help in the value department. Hard to justify the purchase with better options available for less or near this price.
This stacks up comparably to Elmer T Lee and Blanton’s, although I prefer Elmer T Lee in both flavor and value, and I think Blanton’s in flavor overall. Hancock’s President’s Reserve to me would be a distant third in both flavor and value. So, hard to recommend this one even though it’s not a bad pour. There are a lot of great low/standard rye Bourbons out there that are both better drinks and better values. If this was priced about $20 less, I think it could be offered as a milder Elmer T Lee, but $20 bucks is basically a second bottle of something I’d call still better.
Hancock’s President’s Reserve Recommendation
Try a Glass – 2.5/5 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.)