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Buffalo Trace Distillery releases seasoned stave bourbon experiment

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Buffalo Trace Distillery is releasing its latest round in its experimental whiskey collection, two bourbons aged for more than nine years in barrels made from oak staves seasoned for three and four years.

The bourbons, filled with Buffalo Trace’s mash recipe No. 1, were put away to age on Oct. 27, 2009, in new barrels with staves that were seasoned for 36 months and 48 months. Most barrel staves air dry for six months, but these oak staves were allowed to season for much longer in hopes the barrels would offer a unique flavor, different than standard barrels.

“Although the taste difference is slight between the two experiments, these whiskeys taste different than our flagship Buffalo Trace bourbon. The 48-month seasoned stave barrels created a more mellow taste and holds less flavor from the wood. The 36 month seasoned stave bourbon is a little more flavorful with oak notes and caramel present,” stated Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley.

These bourbons will be sold in a two-pack case, so consumers can evaluate the two and compare taste differences for themselves. Each bourbon has been bottled at 90 proof.

This is the 22nd experimental release from Buffalo Trace Distillery, having started with its first experimental release in 2006. In total, there are more than 22,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery, the largest number of experimental barrels ever held in inventory at the National Historic Landmark Distillery, and most likely the world. Each experimental barrel has unique characteristics that differentiate them in distinct ways. Some examples of experiments include unique mash bills, types of wood, and different barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility, and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks, and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery. Buffalo Trace has increased its commitment to experimentation with the recent addition of its Warehouse X. Although small in size, Warehouse X is designed to explore the extent of environmental influences on the flavor profiles of whiskey.

The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles, and each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys retail for approximately $46.35 each and will be available in late February 2019.