Buffalo Trace is back at it again with their experimental barrels, this time using infrared light waves to create two new and exciting small batch bourbons. After six-and-a-half years of aging, these experimental bourbons will be available to the public through a very limited distribution in May 2016.
Eight special barrels were created in 2009 in partnership with barrel cooper Independent Stave Company. The eight barrels began as any Buffalo Trace barrel typically would, the staves were seasoned in the open air for six months then made into barrels. After the barrels were constructed they were divided into two groups to begin the infrared light wave experiments. The goal of this particular experiment was for distillers to learn how new and different flavors can be drawn from experimenting with the oak.
The four barrels in Group 1 were subjected to a 15 minute session with both short and medium wave frequencies at 70 percent power. The barrels were then given a 15 second (#1) char before being filled filled with Buffalo Trace’s Bourbon Mash #1. This experimental batch yielded tasting notes that included a floral nose followed by a complex flavor profile, merging tannins and oak with sweet caramel and dry raisins.
Group 2’s four barrels received 30 minutes of short and medium wave frequencies at 60 percent power. As with Group 1, the barrels received a quick #1 char before getting filled with Bourbon Mash #1. These barrels yielded strong wood notes that were complemented by the taste of dried fruit, followed by a lingering finish that offers a hint of cracked black pepper.
Along with each barrel’s distinct tasting notes, both had distinct flavors of wood, vanilla, and caramel, as well as some pepper flavors that were drawn from the oak.
Buffalo Trace can add these 90 proof bottles to their growing list of more than 5,000 barrels that have been part of the experimentation process at their special Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, located within the main Buffalo Trace Distillery. Other experiments include using unique wood and unusual ingredients, like rice and oats.