FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY – The third release of the Single Oak Project Bourbon Whiskey by Buffalo Trace Distillery will be available soon. The Distillery’s quest for the “Holy Grail” has begun, yielding results as bourbon connoisseurs rate their favorite barrels. The wheat recipe bourbons aged in barrels made from wood harvested from the top half of oak trees are early favorites, with barrel #61 and barrel #127 leading the way.
These results are based on consumer feedback posted online at www.singleoakproject.com. Nearly 1,000 whiskey aficionados have participated by tasting and rating their Single Oak Project Bourbon. Drinkers in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco have submitted the most feedback. But it’s not just U.S. consumers who are interested in the Single Oak Project; consumers from 31 countries have visited the website.
But with the third release of the breakthrough bourbon being released in November, the Buffalo Trace team is wondering if barrels #61 and #127 will retain their lead, or will the bourbons in this third batch usurp them?
This third release will explore three important variables that affect the bourbon taste: recipe, grain size and entry proof. Some of the bottles contain bourbon made with rye and others with wheat. The barrels themselves were made from different trees, each with varying degrees of thickness to their wood grain, from fine to average to very coarse. The barrel entry proof of these bourbons was either 105 or 125 proof. All other variables in the experimental project, such as the stave seasoning, tree cut, char level and warehouse location remain constant. “We can now finally taste the difference in whiskies at two separate entry proofs,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “There has been much debate about entry proof, so we’re very curious to see the results.”
As with the other two releases, Buffalo Trace hopes consumers can continue to rate each whiskey they taste online at www.singleoakproject.com. This feedback helps determine which type of bourbon connoisseurs prefer most. After reviewing a bottle online, consumers will be availed of all the aging details and provenance of the barrel. They can interact with others who’ve also reviewed the barrel, compare their reviews, and even learn for themselves which characteristics they enjoy most, in order to help them select future favorites. Participants online will earn points after each review and most importantly, help Buffalo Trace Distillery create the perfect bourbon!
The Single Oak Project is part of an intensive research project Buffalo Trace Distillery started conducting in 1999 by hand picking 96 trees with different wood grains and then dividing them into a top and bottom piece, yielding 192 unique sections. From there, staves were created from each section and were air dried for either 6 months or 12 months. After all the staves were air dried, a single barrel was created from each tree section, resulting in 192 total barrels. These barrels were given either a number three or a number four char and then filled with either wheat or rye recipe bourbon.
To further the variety of experiments, the barrels were filled at two different proofs, 105 and 125 proof. And if this wasn’t enough, two completely different warehouses were used, one with wooden ricks and one with concrete floors. In total, seven different variables were employed in Buffalo Trace’s ultimate experiment.
For eight years the Distillery continued with its tracking process, creating intricate databases and coming up with a potential of 1,396 tasting combinations from these 192 barrels!
The Single Oak Project Bourbon is being released in a series every three months over the next four years until all of the 192 barrels have been released. The first release hit select stores at the end of May. The second release showed up in stores towards the end of August. And this third release will start showing up at the end of November. Like all the other releases, the quantities are very limited. Every case will contain 12 bottles, each from a different barrel. The third release is made up of barrel numbers 8, 24, 40, 56, 72, 88, 104, 120, 136, 152, 167 and 184. All releases will be packaged in a 375ml bottle. Suggested retail pricing per bottle is $46.35.
At the conclusion of the Single Oak Project, the Distillery plans to take the top rated barrel based on online consumer feedback, make more of that product and launch it under the Single Oak Project nameplate.