Buffalo Trace Distillery has released its first experimental whiskey of 2020: a wheat-recipe bourbon aged for four years, cut with water, then re-barreled and left to age for another eight years.
Explained more broadly, the distillery in December of 2007 filled one new barrel with Buffalo Trace’s wheat mash recipe at 114 proof. After four years of aging in Warehouse C, this 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 allowed to age another eight years in the same warehouse.
While unusual to interrupt the aging process, the distilling team at Buffalo Trace was reportedly pleased with the results.
“This experiment helped us to understand how important a role water actually plays in whiskey production,” says Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “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 company’s growing number of warehouses. Examples of other experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood and different barrel toasts.
Buffalo Trace also operates an experimental warehouse, Warehouse X, designed to explore the extent of environmental influences on the flavor profiles of whiskey.
The Experimental Collection comes packaged in 375-ml. bottles. Each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. This new whiskey retails for approximately $46.99 per bottle, and will be available in May.
Experimental Collection releases are generally quite small, with limited availability.