Posts Tagged Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace Releases Fifth Round of Single Oak Project Bourbon

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (May 1, 2012) – One year ago Buffalo Trace Distillery unveiled its Single Oak Project and its quest for the perfect bourbon. Now as the fifth round of Single Oak Project Bourbons are released, there has been much excitement and many reviews, but still many questions to be answered.

The fifth round of experiments will focus on three variables, the recipe, rye vs. wheat; the entry proof, 105 vs. 125 proof; and wood grain size, tight, average, or coarse. All of the other variables such as barrel stave seasoning, aging warehouse, char level, and tree cut (top or bottom) remain constant.

As with the other four releases, Buffalo Trace hopes whiskey enthusiasts can continue to rate each whiskey they taste online at www.singleoakproject.com. To date, more than 1700 accounts have been created online, and nearly 1,550 reviews have been given on the four various releases so far.

The whiskey reviews have been tallied and the leading barrel after one year is…. a three way tie!! Barrels #10, 106 and 184 are all tied for first place. With all three of those barrels having different variables, it seems the only thing the three have in common is that the oak was harvested from bottom half of the tree! The other six variables of the leading barrels vary.

“Quite a mixed bag so far,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon brand manager. “It seems the only thing people can agree on so far is that they like bourbon aged in barrels made from the bottom portion of oak trees, opposed to the top half. Good thing we have 3 more years, 144 more barrels, and thousands more reviews to come!”

After a consumer reviews a bottle online, they will be availed of all the aging details and provenance of the barrel. They can interact with others who’ve also reviewed the barrel, compare their reviews, and even learn for themselves which characteristics they enjoy most, in order to help them select future favorites. Participants online will earn points after each review and most importantly, help Buffalo Trace Distillery create the perfect bourbon!

The Single Oak Project is part of an intensive research project Buffalo Trace Distillery started conducting in 1999 by hand picking 96 trees with different wood grains and then dividing them into a top and bottom piece, yielding 192 unique sections. From there, staves were created from each section and were air dried for either 6 months or 12 months. After all the staves were air dried, a single barrel was created from each tree section, resulting in 192 total barrels. These barrels were given either a number three or a number four char and then filled with either wheat or rye recipe bourbon.

To further the variety of experiments, the barrels were filled at two different proofs, 105 and 125 proof. And if this wasn’t enough, two completely different warehouses were used, one with wooden floors and one with concrete floors. In total, seven different variables were employed in Buffalo Trace’s ultimate experiment.

For eight years the Distillery continued with its tracking process, creating intricate databases and coming up with a potential of 1,396 tasting combinations from these 192 barrels!

The Single Oak Project Bourbon is being released in a series every three months from 2011 through 2015 until all of the 192 barrels have been released. The first releases hit select stores in 2011. This fifth release will reach stores towards the end of May. Like all the other releases, the quantities are very limited. Every case will contain 12 bottles, each from a different barrel. The fifth release is made up of barrel numbers 1, 17, 33, 49, 65, 81, 97, 113, 129, 145, 161, 177. All releases will be packaged in a 375ml bottle. Suggested retail pricing per bottle is $46.35.

At the conclusion of the Single Oak Project, the Distillery plans to take the top rated barrel based on online consumer feedback, make more of that product and launch it under the Single Oak Project nameplate

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Buffalo Trace Wins 3 Awards From Whisky Magazine

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (April 3, 2012) – Buffalo Trace Distillery garnered high honors during the Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame Awards ceremony held March 22, 2012 at the Waldorf Hilton in London, England.  Most special was the Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame induction given to Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee.

Elmer T. Lee was born in 1919 on a tobacco farm near Peaks Mill in Franklin County, Kentucky. He graduated from Frankfort High School in 1936 and served in the U. S. Army Air Force during World War II as a radar bombardier on a B-29. After flying missions over Japan through 1945, Elmer was honorably discharged in January 1946. He returned home and studied engineering at the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with honors in 1949.

In September 1949 Elmer began working in the engineering department of the George T. Stagg (now Buffalo Trace) Distillery in Frankfort. In 1966, he was promoted to plant superintendent, responsible for all plant operations and in 1969 he became plant manager. Elmer retired in 1985, but continues to serve as ambassador for Buffalo Trace, educating others on the unique qualities of Kentucky’s bourbon whiskey.

It was in 1984 that Elmer introduced the single-barrel bourbon concept to the world with Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, named in honor of Col. Albert B. Blanton. Elmer is known throughout the industry for his expertise and knowledge of bourbon whiskey and has received numerous awards and recognition.

In addition to Elmer’s honor, two whiskeys distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery were also awarded “Best in the World” honors by Whisky Magazine at the Hall of Fame Awards:

  • Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon
    • Best American Whiskey in the World
    • Best Bourbon in the World
  • Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Rye Whiskey
    • Best Rye in the World

“It’s been such a pleasure and an honor to be able to learn from Elmer Lee,” said Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery’s current Master Distiller.  “The knowledge he brings forth to our industry has been invaluable, and we’re happy everyone else in the world recognizes it as well.”

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Buffalo Trace Distillery Produces Trophy Winners in 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (April 21, 2011) – The winners from the 2011 Ultimate Spirits Challenge, held in New York in March, have been announced and the whiskeys from Buffalo Trace Distillery continue to win significant awards.  Named “Chairman’s Trophy” winners were Sazerac 18 Rye and George T. Stagg. The “Chairman’s Trophy” awards are given to the category’s highest scorer. Results are as follows:

Chairman’s Trophy Winner – Rye

    • Sazerac 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – With a “95” score and “Extraordinary Recommendation,” this whiskey was described as “Wonderfully balanced with fruit and spice being offered in perfect harmony and with incredible length.”

Chairman’s Trophy Winner Bourbon

    • George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – With a “96” score and “Extraordinary Recommendation,” this bourbon was called a “mind blowing bourbon” by one of the judges who also said “…Bottled at cask strength which suggests that a water addition is prudent but we are amazed by how soft, supple, and perfectly integrated this spirit is at full strength.”

Chairman’s Trophy Finalists

    • Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whisky – Received a “92” and “Excellent, Highly Recommended” rating.
    • Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Received a “95” and “Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation” as well as a “Great Value” notation.
    • Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Received a “95” and “Extraordinary Recommendation.”
    • Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – Received a “92” and “Highly Recommended” notation.
  • Other notable scores of Buffalo Trace’s whiskeys include:
    • Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “93” rating
    • Charter 101 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “93” rating and “Great Value”
    • William LaRue Weller 12 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “92” rating
    • Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “91” rating
    • Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “91” rating
    • Blanton’s Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – “90” rating
    • Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey – “89” rating
    • Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey – “89” rating

 

“What an honor to receive not one, but two Chairman’s Trophy Winners this year, for those represent the ‘best of the best,’” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “And then to have so many of our other whiskies do so well, too, is just amazing. We’re very excited.”

For a complete list of USC winners, go to www.ultimate-beverage.com/wine_reviews/spirits-results/.

 

About Buffalo Trace Distillery

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The distillery’s rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee.  Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotrace.com.

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Buffalo Trace Releases 2011 Experimental “Rediscovered Barrels”

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.

 

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Buffalo Trace Announces E.H. Taylor, Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Feb. 22, 2011) – Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. will yet again leave his indelible mark on the whiskey industry. The man who introduced the first climate controlled aging warehouses, used a patented sour mash technique, and fought for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 will have a line of premium whiskeys bearing his name. Buffalo Trace Distillery has recreated his traditional sour mash and produced a limited edition, one-time offering of Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey.

This faithfully reproduced bourbon was carefully aged for nine years and “Bottled in Bond” at 100 proof. The sour mashing technique for this small batch bourbon was derived from a meeting several years ago with some Buffalo Trace Distillery retirees who recounted a method for making old fashioned sour mash whiskey. The process replicated the way in which E.H. Taylor, Jr. made sour mash back in his day.

So in 2002 Buffalo Trace Distillery set to work making bourbon using Taylor’s original souring method.  The end result was a bourbon delivering a character and body rarely found in whiskeys today. Taylor, a name synonymous with quality whiskey making, might have even said this whisky is “of Topmost Class.”

“Taylor was a true pioneer of the whiskey industry over a century ago,” said Mark Brown, president of Buffalo Trace Distillery. “We believe this whiskey is a tribute to him.” Taylor was the great-nephew of President Zachary Taylor, mayor of Frankfort, state representative to the Kentucky General Assembly and a member of the State Senate. In 1870 he first purchased the distillery and took on the daunting task of modernization. He later named the distillery O.F.C. and continued to invest large sums of money to make it an industry leader. Taylor over-extended himself financially in an effort to use the most modern equipment to make the finest bourbon whiskey available.  Throughout his career, Taylor was responsible for the development of seven different distilleries in the area and is widely considered one of the founding fathers of the bourbon industry.

This Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon is the first of several new E.H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys to be released over the next few years. “All of the Taylor whiskeys will be distinctive. Most will be very limited,” said Kris Comstock, brand manager. Each offering will showcase a vintage label and canister, reminiscent of Taylor’s bottles nearly one hundred years ago. “We designed the current bottle to replicate antique bottles made by Taylor back in 1913,” adds Comstock. Each bottle will be packaged in a canister, much like something Taylor used during his day. Retail price for the E.H. Taylor Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon will be available for around $70 per 750ml bottle.

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Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Bourbon Named “Spirit of the Year”

FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (Oct. 19, 2010) – Wine and Spirits Magazine has named Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey “Spirit of the Year” in its annual buying guide issue.  There are only eight spirits of the year in the issue, and Pappy Van Winkle 23 is the only bourbon.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from Wine and Spirits, one of the most respected publications in the spirits industry,” said Julian Van Winkle III. “This caps off an unbelievably successful year for the Van Winkle line as a whole, with major wins for Pappy 15 at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and Pappy 20 at both the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.”

The Wine and Spirits annual buying guide issue will be on sale at newsstands October 19th.

About Van Winkle Bourbon

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four generation history. The Van Winkle

family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle, Sr. He was a traveling salesman for the W.L. Weller and Sons wholesale house in Louisville. Pappy and a friend, Alex Farnsley, eventually bought the wholesale house and also partnered with Mr. A. Ph. Stitzel on the purchase of Mr. Sitzel’s distillery.  The three of them merged the two companies and became the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.  Pappy had a heavy influence on the operations there until his death at the age of 91. His son, Julian, Jr. took over operations until he was forced by stockholders to sell the distillery in 1972. The rights to all of their brands were sold to Norton Simon, Inc. Later, United Distillers, who eventually ended up with the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, sold off all of the original labels around 1999.
After selling the distillery, Julian Jr. resurrected a pre-prohibition label, the only one to which the Van Winkles kept the rights, called Old Rip Van Winkle. He used whiskey stocks from the old distillery to supply his brand. Julian Jr.’s son, Julian, III took over in 1981 when Julian, Jr. passed away. Julian III has continued with the Van Winkle tradition of producing high-quality wheated bourbon. His son, Preston, joined the company in 2001 and the Van Winkles look to continue that tradition for generations to come.
In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit www.oldripvanwinkle.com.

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Buffalo Trace Releases 2010 Antique Collection

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (October 5, 2010) Whiskey lovers rejoice! Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing its 2010 Antique Collection. The much-anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here is what ardent fans can expect:

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old

The 2009 release was named in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible the “World Whisky of the Year,” making it the best whisky on the earth.  The 2010 release is comprised of whiskey that has been aged on the first floor of Warehouse K. The first floor enables the barrels to age slowly and gracefully. This vintage has a crisp spice, minty sweetness and pleasant oakiness.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a 96 rating by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The 2010 edition was distilled in the spring of 1993 and has been aging in Warehouses C, H, I, K and Q.  With 17 years of aging under its belt, it brings to the table notes of leather, vanilla and tobacco.

George T. Stagg

The perennial favorite and last year’s winner of the “Bourbon of the Year” award by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible, the 2010 George T. Stagg was found in Warehouses H, I, K and L. This uncut, unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the winter of 1993 and weighs in at 143 proof—some strong stuff! This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee.

William Larue Weller

William Larue Weller is the Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheat recipe bourbon. The 2009 edition was just named the best bourbon in the world by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal. The 2010 offering was distilled in the summer of 1998 and aged on the fourth and ninth floors of Warehouses I and P. This William Larue Weller release registers in at 126.6 proof. It tastes of caramel corn, light toffee and pipe tobacco.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2004 and aged on the third and fourth floors of Warehouses K, M and P. It is 126.9 proof.  The flavor is cinnamon and allspice, with a bold lingering finish.

The Antique Collection was introduced a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Malt Advocate Magazine and Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible.

“Last year’s collection won some pretty major awards so it’s somewhat intimidating to follow those whiskies,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “But we think this year’s offerings are just as good, so it will be fun to see if everyone else thinks so too.”

The Antique Collection will be available starting in late October. For more information visit www.greatbourbon.com

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Buffalo Trace Distillery Unveils Oral History Project

After more than 200 years of history in the making, Buffalo Trace Distillery is unveiling its Oral History Project, a compilation of interviews with the people and stories of the Buffalo Trace Distillery family, such as Master Distiller Emeritus Elmer T. Lee, and descendents of iconic figures such as Colonel Albert B. Blanton and Pappy Van Winkle.

For more than two years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been working with the LouieB.NunnCenter for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries to capture the memories of the Distillery’s friends and family to serve as a virtual time capsule for future generations. All the video interviews are housed on the NunnCenter website, available at: http://www.nunncenter.org/buffalotrace/.

Visitors to the website can learn the stories behind how Elmer T. Lee had a hand in creating Blanton’s, the world’s first single barrel bourbon; the memories of Alice Blanton as she visited “Uncle Albert” on the Distillery grounds where she learned to roller skate; and how Mark Brown, president and chief executive officer for Buffalo Trace Distillery feels that Elmer T. Lee is the “grandfather he never had.”

“We’re so excited to see this project finally come to fruition,” said Meredith Moody, director of marketing services, Buffalo Trace Distillery. “To have the opportunity to preserve such rich memories of our company’s legends such as E.H. Taylor Hay Jr., a descendent of Col. E.H. Taylor Jr., one of our company’s early entrepreneurs, and our Warehouse Supervisors Ronnie Edwards and Leonard Riddle, who between them have 94 years of bourbon-making experience, is so rewarding.”

Douglas Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History agrees, saying “To have been given an insider’s look at the rich history of not only the Distillery itself but also the bourbon industry is such a rare opportunity.  We’re excited that now these stories will live on for future generations to learn about the history and tradition of one of Kentucky’s signature industries.”

In addition to visiting the NunnCenter’s website to watch all the interviews in their entirety, Buffalo Trace Distillery plans to offer computer stations in its Visitor’s Center for viewing the oral histories by early 2011.

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