FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY – Every once in a while at nearly every large distillery, a barrel warehouse employee will run across a barrel or two that has seemed to be in hiding for a number of years. They’re like little gems, concealed within the dark corners in the back of a rick just waiting to be rediscovered and sampled to see what treasures lie within.
Such is the case at Buffalo Trace Distillery, where a batch of barrels, some as old as 21 years, were rediscovered, tasted, and now bottled under the highly acclaimed Experimental Collection moniker.
“In 1998 we acquired the Old Charter brand, along with a large inventory of barrels, approximately 150,000. In a recent audit of our barrel inventory, we found some barrels from this lot. One was empty, one tasted horrible, and the others tasted very nice. Of course we bottled the very nice barrels and are offering these rare finds under our Experimental Collection label,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon brand manager.
There are three different offerings, distilled back in 1989, 1991 and 1993. Details are as follows:
• 1989 Barrels, Rediscovered: These seven barrels were filled on Nov. 17, 1989. The still proof and entry proof are unknown. After more than 21 years of aging, the wood is very prominent, but it still doesn’t conquer the rich vanilla and caramel flavors that bring to mind handmade holiday candy.
• 1991 Barrels, Rediscovered: These 8 barrels were filled on Oct. 29, 1991 and the still proof and entry proof are unknown. After a little more than 19 years, the warm and spicy aroma of this bourbon is overtaken by a robust black walnut character on the palette that finishes as thick candied fruits. The flavor lasts an eternity.
• 1993 Barrels, Rediscovered: These 8 barrels were filled on May 13, 1993 and like the other two offerings in this collection, the still proof and entry proof are unknown. After 17 years and 7 months in the barrel, this bourbon has a nice rich and creamy texture, like a whiskey latte with extra foam and a shot of vanilla. A great sipper for long cold nights.
There are more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey now aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Each of these barrels has unique characteristics that differentiate it from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, type of wood and barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery complete with cookers, fermenting tanks and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys will be released in February 2011 and retail for approximately $46.35 each. Each experiment is very rare and very limited.