New Buffalo Trace Bourbon Experiment Focuses On Barrel Entry Proof - The Whiskey Wash

New Buffalo Trace Bourbon Experiment Focuses On Barrel Entry Proof

By Nino Marchetti / March 14, 2014

The Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, besides its Single Oak Project bourbons, also releases limited edition “experiments” through the aptly named Experimental Collection. The latest to herald from this line are four different rye recipe bourbons which were all aged for close to 12 years in an observation of how barrel entry proof is impacted.

Barrel entry proof, as the name implies, is what strength the whiskey is when it is barreled after being distilled. The four rye recipe bourbons initially came off the still at 140 proof, but were put into the barrel for aging for 11 years, 9 months at different proofs before ultimately being bottled at 90 proof. Here’s how the distillery describes each offering:

Rye Mash Entry Proof Family

Rye 125 – At 125 proof, this was the highest entry proof used, which is also Buffalo Trace’s standard entry proof for its rye recipe bourbons. The result was typical of Buffalo Trace’s mash #1 findings, a well-balanced bourbon with spicy cloves mingled with sweet vanilla, caramel and toffee to create a well-rounded and complex flavor.

Rye 115 – This rye recipe bourbon was put into the barrel at 115 proof and has light oaky flavors mingled with leather and palm sugar.

Rye 105 – At an entry proof of 105, the angels were particularity generous with their share, taking the highest amount of their share in all four experiments with an evaporation rate of 26%. The 105 entry proof produced a bourbon which had a good overall flavor with some earthy tones, followed by a buttery, light finish.

Rye 90 – At an entry point of 90, this bourbon had a 25% evaporation rate as it aged alongside the other four experimental rye barrels in Warehouse K. The result was a bourbon with a light fruity flavor followed by some hints of dried nuts and spice, with a drier finish.

In terms of results it was determined that “entry proof does affect bourbon flavor, and it does affect evaporation rates. Also, different barrel entry proofs will produce varying flavor elements.” You can taste some of the results yourself if you can find a 375 ml bottling that likely will be pricing around $47 each.

For those who are curious, Buffalo Trace said it is currently making use of more than 2,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in its warehouses. Each of these barrels has unique characteristics that differentiate it from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, type of wood and barrel toasts.