The Buffalo Trace Distillery is no stranger to innovation. They began experimenting with recipes and barrel treatments more than two decades ago, and throughout the years we’ve seen occasional special releases, including the interesting Single Oak Project. Currently, Buffalo Trace counts more than 1,500 experimental barrels aging in its warehouses. These unique whiskeys encompass varying characteristics due to changes in the mash bill, types of wood, char levels, proof and more.
The latest Experimental Collection release from Buffalo Trace plays specifically with proof. All four of the experimental whiskeys come off the still at a consistent 130 proof, but they’re put into barrels using four different entry proofs, as noted below. All of the barrels were then aged together for 11 years, 7 months and bottled at 90 proof. Here are the findings.
At 125 proof, this was the highest entry proof used, which also resulted in a high evaporation rate of 71% in the 11-plus years it was in the barrel. The high entry proof of this wheat recipe bourbon resulted in a well-rounded flavor with the taste being a balance of cooked berries mingled with sweet honey and slight hints of spicy cloves and pepper.
This wheated recipe bourbon was put into the barrel at 115 proof and lost the highest percentage due to evaporation, at 73%. Tasting notes for this bourbon say it is a well-balanced spirit, which was rated the best tasting by the quality analysis team at Buffalo Trace. The upfront taste is sweet and fruity, with buttery toffee notes that follow. A dry oaky finish completes the taste.
At an entry proof of 105, the angels were particularity generous with their share, taking the lowest amount of all four experiments with a rate of 62%. The 105 entry proof produced a bourbon that is a nice balance of sweet caramel, vanilla and dry oakiness.
At an entry point of 90, this bourbon had a 64% evaporation rate as it aged alongside the other four experimental wheat barrels in Warehouse K. The result was a bourbon with more wood characters and slight sweet notes. It is mellow with hints of cedar and other wood flavors.
The Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection bourbons are available now. They’re packaged in 375ml bottles and each will retail for about $46.