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Buffalo Trace Re-Releases French Oak Bourbon As Part Of Its Old Charter Oak Brand

Buffalo Trace continues to showcase oak tree varietals through its Old Charter Oak brand, and just re-released its French Oak expression.

Debuted in 2018, Buffalo Trace’s Old Charter Oak brand showcases the diverse taste profiles of barrels obtained from trees grown in different countries, climates and soil. The oak trees used for the barrels that are dedicated to this brand vary by country of origin, or species, or U.S. state.

Some barrels are even made from century oaks … 100-, 200- or 300-year-old oak trees.

Old Charter Oak French Oak
Old Charter Oak French Oak (image via Buffalo Trace)

For this latest release, Buffalo Trace is revisiting its French Oak series, with the new release available now.  In 2013, Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France, filled them with its Mash #1, the same mashbill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and other bourbons from the distillery.

“We first experimented with French Oak barrels in 1995,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in a prepared statement.  “We released our first experiment with French Oak in 2006, and we were so pleased with the results we bought more barrels from France and put more bourbon up to age.”

Wheatley said that over time, the French Oak became one of their favorite bourbons. “It’s power packed with sweetness, sourced from the vanilla, caramel and wood sugars while balanced with the French Oak tannins. With the French Oak barrels, we are exploring how the flavors are delivered at different levels. It speaks to the regionality of wood and how it can impact the flavor of the bourbon whiskey.”

By federal standards, bourbon is required to be aged in a new, charred oak container. But there is no specification that it must be American white oak. With that, nearly all bourbons made today are aged in American white oak.

The Old Charter brand dates back to 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze created the bourbon, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree, a long-time symbol of American independence and free spirit, which grew in Connecticut in the 12th or 13th century until it fell in a storm in 1856.

This is the third release of Old Charter Oak French Oak, and the sixth release overall for the Old Charter Oak brand.

Past releases include Mongolian Oak, Canadian Oak, and Chinkapin Oak. Old Charter Oak Bourbon will release different oak expressions in the future, with its next planned for 2022.

Like the previous releases in the Old Charter Oak series, supplies will be limited and this third release of Old Charter Oak French Oak Bourbon has a suggested retail price of $69.99. It clocks in at 92 proof.

Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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