Whisky Advocate

Feel the Wheat

By Fred Minnick

In the thick of summer, country-strong Buffalo Trace workers are sweating through their shirts, rolling newly filled barrels from a truck into a stone warehouse. The whiff of new make spirit in charred oak cuts through the subtle breeze, wafting rich bourbon aromas. It’s a typical hot and humid Kentucky day, but something’s wrong.

The Buffalo Trace Distillery’s barrelhead stencil markings look a little unusual. Instead of the smeared black ink upon wood grain, these barrelheads don a bright green.

This may seem like no big deal to a casual observer, but in the whiskey business, where every detail counts and small changes reverberate across decades, this green ink on the outside of a barrel is the mark of something profound on the inside: wheated bourbon.

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