Buffalo Trace Distillery releases its seventh round of Single Oak Project Bourbons, and is wondering if lucky number seven will hold the key in its quest to find the world’s perfect bourbon!
All of the bourbons in this release were aged in Warehouse K, a wooden floor warehouse, entered into the barrel at 105 proof from the same half of the tree, and charred at a number 3 char level. This allows the release to focus on three other variables, the recipe, rye vs. wheat; stave seasoning, 6 months vs. 12 months; and the wood grain size, tight, average, or coarse. All of the other variables such as aging warehouse, entry proof, char level, and tree cut (top or bottom) remain constant.
“This release is small, but quite a good one for comparing bourbons made from different recipes. Bourbon drinkers can taste and decide if they like wheated bourbon or rye recipe bourbon better. Especially because the entry proof, aging warehouse and tree cut remain all remain constant,” said Kris Comstock, bourbon marketing director.
So far, nearly 1,955 industry expert and consumer reviews have been logged online at www.singleoakproject.com. These whiskey reviews will determine which Single Oak Project Bourbon is the favorite of fans worldwide. Buffalo Trace looks forward to more reviews, to hear what bourbon drinkers think, and will craft the perfect bourbon based our consumer feedback.
After a year and a half into this four year project, barrel number 97 leads by a narrow margin, barely edging out barrel number 106 which led a few months ago. But even industry experts can’t agree! Jim Murray gave barrel number 63 his highest score of those released to date. His 95.5 score earned this whiskey a Liquid Gold Award in his Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2013. Of number 63, Murray calls it a “perfect spice build” and “ultra complex.” And Paul Pacult, in his December 2012 issue of F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal is torn between three barrels, loving numbers 10, 30 and 72.
“Obviously the search for the perfect bourbon is a long way from being completed,” continues Comstock, “Consumers and industry experts each have their own favorites. It’s a perfect time for newcomers to get involved with the project and weigh in with their reviews online to help us pick the number one bourbon.”
After a consumer reviews a bottle online, they 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, actively participate in Buffalo Trace Distillery’s quest to 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 floors 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 from 2011 through 2015 until all of the 192 barrels have been released. The first release hit select stores in 2011. This seventh release will reach stores towards 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 seventh release is made up of barrel numbers 18, 26, 50, 58, 82, 90, 114, 122, 146, 154, 178, 186. 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 Single Oak Project Bourbon and make more just like it, under the Single Oak name.