Buffalo Trace Distillery has announced a new and soon-to-be-coveted release of Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon in the Warehouse C Series: “Door Slightly Ajar.”
This is the second E. H. Taylor bourbon released with a specific Warehouse C designation.
“The tornado surviving batch was a big hit,” explains master blender Drew Mayville at Buffalo Trace, “but it turns out you don’t need to lose half the roof to develop great flavors—all you need to do is leave one of the doors open.”
According to Mayville, Door Slightly Ajar is a batching of barrels that were directly in the line of sight of a back door that kept blowing open. “We’ve had this problem for fifteen years,” Mayville says, “where this one door just would not stay closed. In the summer, the wood swelled and it would pop open, and in the winter, it wouldn’t stay flush with the frame.”
A work order put in in 2006 was initially checked off, but maintenance had mistakenly fixed another door, which had a loose handle but was otherwise functioning properly.
As a result, the door has gone unaddressed for the last decade and a half.
Upon realizing the problem never got fixed last year, the Buffalo Trace team saw an opportunity. They drew samples of the barrels around the doorway, and were shocked at the quality of the liquid.
“We were blown away,” says Mayville. “There are about fifteen or twenty barrels in a sort of splatter pattern that got a little sliver of extra light for a couple of hours during the day, and a little bit more of a draft during the evening, and those conditions have just done incredible things to this whiskey.”
Twenty total barrels make up the lot used for this bottling, but in an unexpected twist, they were all fairly full, due to the first floor location. Whiskey loses a smaller percentage to angel’s share on lower floors.
“It’s really incredible stuff,” explains Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “Who knew you could get tea and tobacco notes from forgetting to close the damn door?”
Mayville, who said the distillery had been planning experiments involving roof shingles and a sledge hammer, believes leaving the door slightly ajar may be the future of aging.
“We’ve been trying this at Warehouse X every couple of months anyway, because someone keeps forgetting to close the door behind themselves,” he explained.
Only 5,000 total bottles will be available of this whiskey, which was officially put into barrels on April 1, 2000, and is being bottled today April 1, 2021. When it ships out to distributors next month, it will carry a suggested retail price of just $14.99.