Old Charter Oak Chinkapin Oak is Coming Soon from Buffalo Trace Distillery

Old Charter Oak Chinkapin Oak. Photo Courtesy Buffalo Trace.

Buffalo Trace Distillery has announced the release of the fourth Old Charter Oak Bourbon, Chinkapin Oak.

These Chinkapin Oak barrels, made from trees native to the American Midwest, have staves that were air-dried 24 months. While most barrel staves only dry three to six months, the extra time allows for more flavors to develop in the wood.

“The extra seasoning of the wood allows it to break down and we then capture the flavors when the barrel is charred.  The extra time caramelizes wood sugar and reduces some of the tannic flavor,” said Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in a press release.

While Buffalo Trace’s standard barrels are charred for 55 seconds, known as Char 4, these Chinkapin oak staves were charred only 35 seconds, known as Char 3. The bourbon was aged in these barrels for nine years before being bottled at 93 proof.

Tasting notes from the distillery describe the Chinkapin Oak as having “a nose of cherries and spearmint with hints of floral. On the palate, fresh herbs and honey abound, before a finish of warm baking spices, followed by dark chocolate.”

Chinkapin Oak joins three other releases in the Old Charter Oak family from the award-winning distillery, Mongolian, French, and Canadian Oak. While bourbon traditionally ages in barrels made of American white oak, Buffalo Trace began the Old Charter Oak line to showcase experimental bourbons aged in barrels made from white oak trees from around the world. They’ve teased a few future releases as well, including oak from trees that are centuries old.

Limited quantities of Old Charter Oak Chinkapin Oak will begin arriving on shelves soon for a suggested retail 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.