Buffalo Trace Announces French Oak as Second Old Charter Oak Release

Old Charter Oak French Oak. Photo Courtesy Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace Distillery has announced the second release in their Old Charter Oak line, Old Charter French Oak.

The distillery launched their Old Charter Oak series last year, beginning with Old Charter Mongolian Oak. While many believe that bourbon must be aged in American white oak, this is not true. The Old Charter Oak series aims to explore the differences in bourbons aged in barrels made from oak grown around the world. Some of the barrels are made from trees that are hundreds of years old.

The new release was crafted using Buffalo Trace Mashbill #1, a rye bourbon recipe used to make Eagle Rare, E. H. Taylor, and more. It was put into French oak barrels in 2007 and bottled at 92 proof.

Tasting notes provided by the distillery describe “a nose of vanilla with hints of apricot, cherry, and rose petal,” and a palate that is “thick and creamy maple syrup, with the oak flavor coming through. A long finish of chocolate and toasted oak round it out.”

“We’re excited to release our second bourbon in this ground breaking series,” said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director in a press release this morning. “As of now, we have bourbon aging for the Old Charter Oak collection scheduled for release now through 2030, but we’ll keep producing more each year for more new whiskeys beyond that.”

The Old Charter brand began in 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze named their bourbon after the Charter Oak tree, a 600-year-old symbol of American freedom and independence. It was famously used to hide the charter papers from England that gave the colony of Connecticut rights to elect its own rulers when those rights were threatened by new powers on the throne. It fell in a storm in 1856, but its image is found on the labels for the brand today.

Old Charter French Oak, the newest bottle to bear the name, is scheduled to hit shelves in limited supplies in late June at a suggested price of around $70.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.