Quietly tucked away in 1995 to mature for 25 years, buffalo trace’s latest expression of the rare and highly coveted O.F.C. vintage series is here


In 1995, on the outskirts of Frankfort, Kentucky, Buffalo Trace (then still under the moniker George T. Stagg Distillery) quietly distilled and tucked away a small amount of straight bourbon. And there it remained through the turn of the millennium, the advent of Google, and four presidents, until it was bottled and released this past December after 25 years in the barrel. The collectible tipple is only the fifth release from the highly coveted series of vintage dated bourbons, first debuted in 2016 as a 200bottle donation to nonprofit organizations from the years 1980, 1982, and 1983. Like its predecessors (the 1994, released one year prior in 2019, is pictured above), the 1995 Vintage is bottled in a hand cut crystal decanter stamped with real copper lettering and a hand applied paper label, then housed in a wooden display box featuring notable events from the year the bourbon was distilled.

The series’ name is a nod to the distillery’s origins, christened in 1870 by the legendary Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr., venerated for developing a distilling method decades ahead of its time, one that used copper fermentation vats, column stills, and a first of its kind steam heating system that’s still used today. O.F.C. Distillery changed names several times over the years, adopting the name Buffalo Trace in 1999, but the National Historic Landmark is still the longest continuously operating distillery in the country.

The flavor profile begins with cherry cordial on the nose followed by subtle notes of caramel and slightly smoked oak. The palate reveals dark chocolate, tobacco leaves, and dates, trailed by a lingering finish of leather, black pepper, and cinnamon. Each O.F.C. release is extremely limited with only 1,500 bottles. Two and a half decades doesn’t come cheap (the 1995 MSRPs for $2,500), but for true connoisseurs, this is a collector’s item for the ages.