Buffalo Trace Distillery had a few big projects in the pipeline long before the COVID-19 pandemic changed life and the industry. Today, BTD announced that the release of one of those projects, the fourth installment of their Old Charter Oak series.
The Old Charter Oak series aims to play with different terroirs and flavors by mixing up the variety of oak used in the bourbons’ barrels. The new release employs Chinkapin Oak, a species native to the Midwest U.S.
To ensure that the Chinkapin flavor was clear in the final whiskey, a few measures were taken. Instead of a typical “Number Four” char of about 55 seconds, BTD opted for a “Number Three” char of only about 35 seconds. In addition, the barrel staves were air-dried for 24 months, about 16-19 months longer than typical protocols.
“The extra seasoning of the wood allows it to break down and we then capture the flavors when the barrel is charred. The extra time caramelizes wood sugar and reduces some of the tannic flavor,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in a statement.
These bespoke barrels were then filled with Buffalo Trace Mash #1and aged for nine years. The juice was finally bottled at 93 proof.
We have not actually tasted the release. So, we’ll share BTD’s official tasting notes which describe “a nose of cherries and spearmint with hints of floral” plus “fresh herbs and honey abound, before a finish of warm baking spices, followed by dark chocolate.”
The Chinkapin Oak release follows Mongolian Oak, French Oak, and Canadian Oak in previous years. Future releases with different species are in the works.
For a limited release, the Chinkapin Oak’s $69.99 MSRP is relatively reasonable. Distribution is slated to begin this week, but given the current state of affairs, it might be a while before you get your hands on one.