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New Release: Old Charter Oak French Oak

The Old Charter Oak Brand is dedicated to the Role Oak Plays in Whiskey Making

By The Bourbon Flight

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Old Charter Oak French Oak is the latest release from Buffalo Trace Distillery as it continues to showcase oak tree varietals through its Old Charter Oak brand.

First revealed in 2018, Buffalo Trace’s Old Charter Oak brand showcases the diverse taste profiles of barrels obtained from trees grown in different countries, climates, and soil. The oak trees used for the barrels that are dedicated to this brand vary by country of origin, or species, or U.S. state. Some barrels are even made from century oaks, 100-, 200- or 300-year-old oak trees.

For the latest release, Buffalo Trace is revisiting its successful French Oak series, with a new release available beginning in late November.  In 2013, Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France, filled them with its Mash #1, the same mashbill used to make Buffalo TraceEagle Rare, and other bourbons from the Distillery.

“We first experimented with French Oak barrels in 1995,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley.

“We released our first experiment with French Oak in 2006, and we were so pleased with the results we bought more barrels from France and put more bourbon up to age.  Over time, this has become one of our favorite bourbons and it’s always a treat when we’ve got some that are ready to bottle. It’s power-packed with sweetness, sourced from vanilla, caramel, and wood sugars while balanced with the French Oak tannins.  With the French Oak barrels, we are exploring how the flavors are delivered at different levels.  It speaks to the regionality of wood and how it can impact the flavor of the bourbon whiskey.”

By Federal standards, bourbon is required to be aged in a new, charred oak container. But there is no specification it must be American white oak, it’s just that nearly all bourbons made today are aged in American white oak.

Old Charter is a brand that has always celebrated the central role that oak plays in making great whiskey, given its namesake. The brand dates back to 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze created the bourbon, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree, a famous symbol of American independence and free spirit, which grew in Connecticut in the 12th or 13th century until it fell in a storm in 1856.

This is the third release of Old Charter Oak French Oak, and the sixth release overall for the Old Charter Oak brand.  Past releases include Mongolian Oak, Canadian Oak, and Chinkapin Oak.   Old Charter Oak Bourbon will be releasing many different oak expressions in the future, with its next release planned for 2022.  Subsequent releases are planned each year.

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