Re: What kind of whisk(e)y do you buy?
Thanks for the welcome. Yeah I've been busy and unable to post very much lately. For the bottle codes, I was able to crack some but others are still a mystery. Wrote to a number of the different distilling groups, some responded and some did not. If you would like more details, I can provide them.
As for American whiskeys, like SMSW everyone has their own tastes and preferences. What I believe is an excellent, low-cost starter (already attested to by DrRich), is the Old Weller Antique 7 yo., which is a wheat-flavored bourbon. Another good wheat-flavored is the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 yo 107 proof (the 15 yo version is better, but much harder to find and be sure to get the 107 proof vs. the 90 proof). The Van Winkle line (goes variously under the names Van Winkle, Old Rip Van Winkle, Pappy Van Winkle) are all usually very good, but some are also pricey. Things can vary with aging and the mash bill, or recipe, that is used, but wheat-flavored bourbons are generally milder and a little bit sweeter, often with a little bit more honey. Maker's Maker is a very popular wheater.
The other type of bourbon, rye-flavored, is generally more robust and spicier. Rye-flavored bourbons make up about 2/3 of all bourbons. Knob Creek is a popular rye-flavored bourbon. Your Buffalo Trace is rye-flavored and is good. Another suggestion for a starter is Elijah Craig 12 yo. Evan Williams Single Barrel is also a good starter (the 1996 vintage is a good one). Wild Turkey is popular, but much more robust and flavorful - go for the Rare Breed or Kentucky Spirit if you want to try a WT. Booker's is also very good, but, again, stronger and more robust.
The Straight Ryes have become popular lately and there are some good ones. If you see a Sazerac 18 yo, snap it up quick, it is excellent but difficult to find. The Sazerac 6 yo is also very good. The Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 yo is very nice. WT has just put out Russell's Reserve Rye which is also very nice.
This is a simplified starter for American whiskey. Let me know if have any questions.