Latest Buffalo Trace Experimental Bourbon Goes Uber Scientific - The Whiskey Wash

Latest Buffalo Trace Experimental Bourbon Goes Uber Scientific

By Nino Marchetti / May 16, 2016

Buffalo Trace, as it has talked about in the past, is home to over 5,000 experimental whiskey barrels squirreled away around the distillery. Some of these occasionally emerge as the appropriately named Experimental Collection, and the first Experimental Collection release of 2016 is very much on the scientific side, as it was influenced by infrared light waves.

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection

This new Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection release, according to the distillery, was aged in barrels which had light waves applied to them before charring in order to see “how new and different flavors can be drawn from the oak.” In their own words,

Working with barrel cooper Independent Stave Company in 2009, eight special barrels were constructed. All eight first underwent the same process as standard Buffalo Trace barrels, staves were open air seasoned for six months before being made into barrels.

Then, the barrels were divided into two groups and subjected to two different levels of infrared light waves. The first group of four barrels underwent 15 minutes of both short wave and medium wave frequency at 70% power. The second group of four barrels was subjected to 30 minutes of both short wave and medium wave frequency at 60% power. The barrels were then given a quick #1 (or 15 seconds) char, before finally being filled with Buffalo Trace’s Bourbon Mash #1.

After six and a half years of aging, the bourbon from both barrels expressed distinct flavor notes of wood, caramel, and vanilla, as well as pepper flavors drawn from the oak. Another observation from the experiment was the short wave infrared light seemed to affect more of the inner layers of the wood, while the medium wave infrared light affected the surface and medium layers.

Tasting notes for each describe the 15 minute infrared light barrels as having a floral nose followed by a complex flavor profile. Oak and tannins mingle with dry raisins and sweet caramel. The 30 minute infrared light barrels are described as strong wood notes complemented by a taste of dried fruit. A lingering finish leaves a hint of cracked black pepper.

The resulting bottling, as is typical with the Experimental Collection offerings, is packaged in 375 ml bottles. Both were bottled at 90 proof. Expect to pay a little over $46 for each when they become available this month in very limited numbers.