Buffalo Trace’s Next Whiskey Is a Wheated Bourbon Experiment

Buffalo Trace’s latest whiskey goes to show a lot of heads when it drops subsequent month, as a result of they’ve taken the beloved recipe for Weller and Van Winkle bourbons and tweaked a main a part of the getting older course of within the title of science.

The 2020 iteration of the Buffalo Hint Experimental Assortment, Experiment 23 (the total title is Buffalo Hint Experimental Assortment: 12 Yr Outdated Wheated Bourbon, Reduce at 4 Years), is the results of 12 years of getting older and one uncommon change of observe: Buffalo Hint added water a third of the way in which by way of the getting older course of.

Now, let’s get a little nerdy. You may know that, in whiskey manufacturing, unaged booze goes into a barrel at “barrel entry proof,” which legally can’t be above 125. Since whiskey comes out of a nonetheless at 130-plus proof, they should add water.

However how a lot water a distillery provides is a giant level of competition within the trade. Much less water (and a larger proof whiskey) means a larger proof spirit that’s cheaper to age. Extra water (and a decrease proof whiskey) means extra taste, as a result of water is best at dissolving taste compounds within the barrel like sugars. (Bourbonr.com has a nice useful resource on this if you wish to take a deeper dive.)

buffalo trace experiment 23
Courtesy picture

Experiment 23 cut up the distinction, and did each—Buffalo Hint aged the whiskey at a larger proof (114) for 4 years, after which added water and re-barreled it at 100 proof, the place it aged for one more eight years.

Why does this matter? Extra water for extra time implies that the whiskey was in a position to extract extra taste from the wooden than it will have in any other case. And Buffalo Hint Grasp Distiller Harlen Wheatley appreciated the way it turned out.

“This experiment helped us to understand how important a role water actually plays in whiskey production,” mentioned Wheatley in a launch. “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.”

Is this going to vary how Buffalo Hint makes whiskey? Most likely not. Experimental Assortment tasks don’t are likely to end in main adjustments to present merchandise. Buffalo Hint has been doing experimental single runs of distinctive whiskeys for over 20 years.

These whiskeys are usually check runs—the gathering has showcased a full vary of experiments over time, from completely different grain payments, like this six-grain bourbon.

Some whiskeys have obtained higher airflow, or direct daylight, whereas others have been positioned in barrels made by new strategies, or with different levels of char.

In whole, the model’s launched 23 experiments, together with this 2020 providing. Buffalo Hint truly has a full listing of all of the launched experiments, which you’ll view here.

For the reason that Experimental Assortment bottles are one-time-only releases, that is a last-chance shopping for scenario. That is a nerd’s bottle—one thing completely different, and peculiar, and value tasting for fanatics. And it seems like, in keeping with Wheatley, it’s fairly tasty, too.

Experiment 23 is being launched in half-sized, 375 ml bottles at a worth of $47 per bottle. Hold an eye fixed out, as they’ll be touchdown on cabinets in Might in restricted numbers.

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