As loyal drinkers may recall, when we last visited the saga of the spirits industry in 2019, the Asian market was all the rage. Consequently, China’s national spirit, Baijiu was beginning to raise eyebrows in the west as well. Well, with the series back on, the spirits conglomerates of Europe and the US are once again looking East.
Buffalo Trace Distillery announced the release of their own “Baijiu style spirit” this week.
Although relatively unknown in the US, Baijiu is the top selling spirit in the world. The International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR, 9L volume, calendar year 2019) clocks the Chinese distillate as the source of 31% of global spirits sales.
For the uninitiated, Baijiu is a clear, grain distillate. There are numerous different mash bills, starter qū’s, and distillation techniques employed to create the spirit. Consequently, ABV varies wildly between 35% and 60% depending on distillery. In fact, Baijiu is less of a specific spirit and more of a wide family.
Buffalo Trace’s effort employs a bill of sorghum and peas, a common combo in China. Unlike most popular Baijius which are sold young, the new offering is aged for 11.
Being a whiskey distiller, Buffalo Trace employs a pretty complex aging process. A press release explains, “After aging the distillate for 11 years in three separate casks, uncharred, charred and toasted white oak, the spirits were married together and bottled at 90 proof.”
But, how does it taste? Well, allow have to go by are the distillery’s notes. “The nose is rich and savory, with notes of chocolate, dark cherries and stone fruit. The sorghum and peas provide a palate of confection sugar, followed by a sweet toffee finish,” we’re told.
The new release is the 24th bottling in Buffalo Trace’s Experimental Collection. The 375ml bottles carry a MSRP of $46.99 and will available at the end of the month.