Buffalo Trace is releasing a sixth expression in its Old Charter Oak series, a line that celebrates the role of white oak trees in the bourbon aging process.
While the vast majority of bourbon today is aged in American white oak barrels, the Old Charter Oak line showcases white oaks from all over the world. Past releases have been aged in Canadian Oak, Mongolian Oak, and Chinkapin Oak, with the next release planned for 2022. This is the distillery’s third release of French Oak, with others aging and planned for release in subsequent years, including a bourbon aged in barrels made from oaks that are centuries old.
“We first experimented with French Oak barrels in 1995,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in a press release. “We released our first experiment with French Oak in 2006, and we were so pleased with the results we bought more barrels from France and put more bourbon up to age. Over time, this has become one of our favorite bourbons and it’s always a treat when we’ve got some that are ready to bottle. It’s power packed with sweetness, sourced from the vanilla, caramel and wood sugars while balanced with the French Oak tannins. With the French Oak barrels, we are exploring how the flavors are delivered at different levels. It speaks to the regionality of wood and how it can impact the flavor of the bourbon whiskey.”
Old Charter Oak French Oak will appear on shelves later this year for a suggested retail price of around $70.