Whisky Advocate

Review: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection “Rediscovered Barrels”

May 10th, 2011

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection “Rediscovered Barrels”
When Buffalo Trace acquired the Old Charter brand, barrels of whiskey came with the deal. Here are three that they “rediscovered.” They’re old for bourbon, so you’re going to find a good dose of wood in their flavor profile.

BTEC “Rediscovered Barrels,” 1993 vintage, 17 year old, 45%, $47
Richly flavored and surprisingly sweet on the nose and front of the palate. A tactile whiskey: creamy, yet becoming resinous toward the finish. Notes of vanilla saltwater taffy, roasted nuts, tobacco, and molasses. An intriguing whiskey, and my favorite of the three. 

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 90

 BTEC “Rediscovered Barrels,” 1991 vintage, 19 year old, 45%, $47
Quite bold and crisply spicy. The most palate-piercing of the three. Well defined flavors of cool mint, warming cinnamon, honey-kissed fruit, and caramel. Briskly spicy finish. When I nose this whiskey, it feels like it’s brandishing a sword at me and shouting “en garde!”

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 88

BTEC “Rediscovered Barrels,” 1989 vintage, 21 year old, 45%, $47
A surprising amount of sweetness to balance the wood spice. Notes of pencil shavings, glazed fruit, candy corn, vanilla fudge, and bold polished leather on the finish.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

14 Responses to “Review: Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection “Rediscovered Barrels””

  1. thomas mckenzie says:

    Would this whiskey have been distilled at Bernheim?

    • Michael Shoshani says:

      The 1993 distillate probably comes from Bernheim – didn’t they start distilling in 1992? But the 1991 is probably, and the 1989 most definitely, distilled at the old Belmont distillery.

      Speaking of which, and I hope this is not an intrusion, but…while doing a Google search to determine whether Old Charter came from Belmont or from Astor, I found an online auction for a magazine ad from 1949 that groups Ancient Age, Belmont, and Old Charter together! So this is not the first time Old Charter and Ancient Age have had the same parent; OC must have been a Schenley product at one point.

      Here’s the ad:,ancient-age-belmont,904293.html (Note: I have no connection with this, just thought it fascinating.)

  2. Mitch Gurowitz says:

    Now, where would I have to go to discover a few bottles of my own?

  3. John Parker says:

    I have a bottle of the 1993 vintage and love it, very smooth and good tasting bourbon. Mitch, where do you live–if you are near Annapolis, MD area Edgewater Liquors has all 3 for sale for $60.00 a bottle.

  4. Vince says:

    I have a bottle of the 1993 but I havent opened it yet. I will look forward to enjoying it soon. Great reviews John!

  5. Red_Arremer says:

    That ’89 sounds fascinating. The “pencil shavings” imply an appealing lightness to some of the wood aspects.

  6. JWC says:

    lately, i’ve been drinking old charter 10 yo distilled at louisville that i found while dusty hunting. it is a great pour. i would say that john’s descriptions of the 1989 and 1991 above can be found in the oc 10 yo louisville bourbon. a fantastic bourbon for the price i paid for it (under $12 per bottle). i hope bt has plans to improve the current old charter bourbon. if so, anyone know what those plans are?

  7. Texas says:

    JWC, did you splurge for the $78 per bottle of the “found” stuff that Spec’s is charging? I deplore the current Old Charter, but I did have a dusty bottle of the Old Charter Classic 90 that was great stuff.

    • JWC says:

      Texas, are you talking about these BTECs? If so, no, I didn’t get them. I did buy a couple of BTEC’s in the past but came to the conclusion that my money was better spent on other things. I’m back to drinking Scotch as well as bourbon and between the two of them (particularly Scotch), I have to be more judicious in how I spend my money. The dusty, Louisville bottling of Old Charter 10 and 12 is good stuff. Haven’t bothered buying the newer bottlings bc I heard they were not up to snuff. Shoot me an email (

  8. Adge says:

    I was in Lexington last month for a conference and my wife let me get the 17 year and the 19 year. I don’t recall the 21 year being there. They had a few left at the west side (huge) Lexington Liquor Barn location, but I doubt they’re still there.

  9. Eric says:

    I would just love to find these at $47/bottle. I’m in TN – pretty much a stone’s throw from KY – and all three of these bottles sell for $60+ in stores. I picked up the 1989 for a pal, and the 1991 for myself. Wish I would’ve waited for this review and got the 93 instead. I just can’t bring myself to pay another $63 for 375ml of mystery bourbon.

  10. Adge says:

    I should add that they were selling them for the MSRP ($47). It was kind of funny, the employees tried to deter me from buying them, their rationale being they were too expensive.

  11. […] John Hansell of Malt Advocate writes this week also about the Midleton presentation of their new single pot still whiskeys. He does a tasting of the Gordon and MacPhail Private Collection of Caol Ila: Madeira and Moscatel finishes, Kilchoman Spring 2011. He scores a whooping 96 to the Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 years old. Finally writes an interesting review of Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection: “Rediscovered Barrels”. […]

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