Whiskey Review: Hancock’s President’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Every family has at least one member they don’t acknowledge publicly. For what’s said to be the mash bill number two bourbons made by Buffalo Trace, that unacknowledged member is Hancock’s President’s Reserve single barrel bourbon. Other brands of the mash bill number two family include Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, Rock Hill Farms, and Ancient Age.

The relationship between mash bill number two bourbons and Buffalo Trace is a bit convoluted. While Age International Inc. owns the labels, Buffalo Trace makes the bourbon and distributes in the United States. However, Buffalo Trace only acknowledges Blanton’s, Elmer T. Lee, and Ancient Age on its website.

So, scarcity of information on Hancock’s President’s Reserve should not come as a surprise. About the only information provided regarding Hancock’s is that it is named after Hancock Lee, co-founder of Leesburg, Kentucky. While Hancock’s is not a limited release bourbon, finding it may present a challenge simply because many stores and bars are not aware of its existence.

While the relative anonymity and scarcity of Hancock’s may increase the allure for whiskey hunters, realistically, Hancock’s lacks any key distinguishing points when compared to the other mash bill number two, single barrel offerings.

Hancock's Reserve

image via Whitney Harrod Morris/The Whiskey Wash

Tasting Notes: Hancock’s President’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

Vital Stats: Buffalo Trace bottles Hancock’s as a single barrel expression at 88.9 proof (the lowest proof among single barrel mash bill number two bourbons), with no age statement. As mentioned in previous reviews, Buffalo Trace’s mash bill number two includes approximately 12-15% rye grain, which is the highest rye content mash bill of their bourbon offerings.

Appearance: Hancock’s Reserve appears soft amber brown in the glass with medium legs.

Nose: Classic bourbon notes of vanilla, sweet corn, and a light toasted pecan note dominate the nose. Secondary floral notes and light cedar make an appearance.

Palate: Hancock’s Reserve leads off the front of the palate with warm notes of cinnamon and lighter notes of dark fruits, such as plum and cherry. In the mid-palate, the cinnamon notes turn to pepper and oak with light vanilla notes balancing the slightly dry and bitter notes of oak.

The finish becomes slightly dry, with the pepper and oak notes and light caramel. Overall, the flavor profile is pretty balanced all the way through, and makes for a nice sipping bourbon in the spirit of Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee.

Final Thoughts & Score/Buy A Bottle:

Score: 85/100

Buy NowHancock’s President’s Reserve single barrel bourbon is very similar to the other Buffalo Trace mash bill number two offerings. In fact, I’d say the flavor profile falls somewhere between Blanton’s and Rock Hill Farms, with a touch more barrel and bitter notes than Rock Hill Farms. If anything, Hancock’s reminds me of the now-discontinued cult favorite, Ancient Ancient Age 10 year bourbon, which retailed for about $15 per 750 ml.

With that in mind, I would only recommend Hancock’s at the right price point. In the $35 range, Hancock’s would be a good choice for someone looking for an easy-sipping single barrel. But, if the price were $50 or more, Rock Hill Farms would be my preference.