What happens when you age the exact same bourbon, for the same length of time, but on different warehouse floors? Does the altitude make a difference? Buffalo Trace Distillery attempts to find out in its latest experiment.
The Warehouse Floors Experiment was started in 2001, when Buffalo Trace’s Rye Mash recipe #1 was put into barrels and then aged on floors one, five, and nine of Warehouse K. This brick warehouse has nine wooden floors in total and was chosen for this experiment due to the variety of tastes it provides during the aging process. Here’s how the experiment panned out:
The barrels aged on the first floor of Warehouse K resulted in a bourbon with a delicate flavor, subtly sweet, with a very mild oak taste.
Barrels aged on the fifth floor of Warehouse K yielded a bourbon that tasted of sweet vanilla and a light caramel, coupled with light wood flavors.
The ninth floor of Warehouse K resulted in a bourbon with a deep aroma. The flavor was of a roasted nut sweetness paired with green pears and figs.
“Through this experiment, we learned that something as simple as varying which floor a bourbon ages on does bring out different flavors in the bourbon, said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “The higher floors had slightly deeper, woody notes as well as more varying fruity flavors.”
These barrels are part of the more than 2,000 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery. 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. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks, and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Experimental Collection is packaged in 375ml bottles and packed 12 to a case, with three bottles from each warehouse floor in a case. Each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys retail for approximately $46.35 each. These particular rare experimental bottles should be available in June. For more information on the Experimental Collection or the other products of Buffalo Trace Distillery, please contact Elizabeth Hurst at [email protected].