FRANKFORT, Ky. — Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing its first experimental whiskey for 2020, a wheat recipe bourbon aged for four years, cut with water, then re-barreled and left to age for another eight years.
The barrel, filled with Buffalo Trace’s wheat mash recipe and entered into the barrel at 114 proof, was put away to age in one new barrel on Dec. 10, 2007. After four years of aging in Warehouse C the barrel was removed, the bourbon was cut with water to lower it down to 100 proof, and then put back into the same barrel and left to age another eight years in the same warehouse.
Although unusual to interrupt the aging process, the distilling team at Buffalo Trace is pleased with the results. “We’ve always known water was a necessary component in making whiskey,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “This experiment helped us to understand how important a role water actually plays in whiskey production. The result of this experiment led us to a bourbon that is actually one of my favorite experiments.”
Wheatley describes this bourbon as having a “nose that is sweet and floral, with notes of oak, vanilla, and a bit of leather. There’s a really smooth creamy mouthfeel here. The taste is a pleasing balance of butterscotch, honey, and wood with a crisp finish.”
This is the 23rd experimental release from Buffalo Trace Distillery, having started with its first experimental release in 2006. In total, there are more than 25,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery, the largest number of experimental barrels ever held in inventory at the National Historic Landmark Distillery, and most likely the world. Each experimental barrel has unique characteristics that differentiate them in distinct ways. Some examples of experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood, and different barrel toasts. Buffalo Trace also has an experimental warehouse, Warehouse X, which is designed to explore the extent of environmental influences on the flavor profiles of whiskey.
The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles, and each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys retail for approximately $46.99 each and will be available in May. Experimental Collection releases are generally quite small and have limited availability.