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Buffalo Trace Distillery Farm Enters Fourth Bourbon Corn Cycle

One of the lesser known features of the rather historic Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky is the estate farm which grows corn for a planned estate bourbon. We’ve tracked the progress of this operation over the years since the days of the first crop, and now word has just come down of the fourth crop being planted.

Work at the Buffalo Trace farm (image via Buffalo Trace)

Here’s what Buffalo Trace had to say specifically about this new crop, alongside letting folks know last year’s crop had just been distilled:

Buffalo Trace Distillery has remained hard at work on its farm which sits adjacent to the Distillery. Besides constructing new warehouses at a rate of one every four months, the Distillery is utilizing the farm land to grow its own corn and has even used a couple of white oak trees from its farm to make a few barrels.

Two weeks ago, Buffalo Trace planted 18 acres of Neon Pink corn on its farm. This is the fourth year Buffalo Trace has planted its own corn, each year having a different strain. This year’s crop of corn should produce about two to three ears of corn per stalk, which is higher than some varieties. This corn will be harvested later this year, dried in the Distillery’s grain silo on the farm, and then distilled and barreled once it’s ready. Years from now when those barrels of distilled Neon Pink corn are bottled, the Distillery plans to donate the proceeds from the bottle sales to breast cancer research.

Last year Buffalo Trace grew a “CF790 Conventional” corn, and it was milled and cooked last week on site. Since being harvested last fall, this corn had been drying in the Distillery’s grain silo and was monitored for moisture. The corn was transported down the hill from the farm and into the Distillery where it was cooked, fermented and distilled. Tuesday, that distillate was placed in barrels, including two barrels which were created using white oak logs that were also harvested off of the Distillery’s farm.

The Distillery found two American White Oak trees last spring while clearing some trees along the narrow farm road in an effort to widen the lane. Those trees were cut into five logs and shipped off to the barrel manufacturer to create the two charred, white oak barrels, which were ultimately returned to the Distillery to complete the circle and age the Distillery’s farm-crafted bourbon.

Each year since 2015 Buffalo Trace has grown a different strain of corn on its farm, and plans to offer a unique release each year in the future. In 2016 the Distillery grew Japonica Striped corn on the farm, and the year before grew Boone County white corn, the same strain of corn that Colonel E.H. Taylor Jr. used at the Distillery in 1870.

Each crop harvested on the Distillery’s farm is being distilled and aged on site to one day become expressions of “Single Estate” bourbons. Name, age or price of this future bourbon is still to be determined.

We look forward to eventually being able to try the first results of their Buffalo Trace estate bourbon.

5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

Here are my recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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