Bourbon and Rye Whiskey drinkers, pay attention: something new!December 8th, 2009
It wasn’t very long ago when I was lamenting how the Scotch, Irish, and even Japanese whisky industries were being creative and experimentative, while the very traditional and loyal (to the point of being borderline stubborn) bourbon/rye whiskey industry refused to participate.
Well, times have changed. And it’s no surprise that Buffalo Trace has their fingers in this.
A decade ago I asked why we don’t have four grain bourbon (corn, malted barley, rye AND wheat). Why must it be ryed bourbon or wheated bourbon? Brown-Forman broke that barrier with their Four Grain Master’s Collection several years back. But, there’s more than one way to marry wheat and rye.
Today I received two review bottles of Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection whiskeys. Not from Buffalo Trace, but from The Party Source, a retailer in Kentucky. I’m only going to talk about one of the whiskeys in this post.
It turns out that this bottling is a wheated bourbon that was finished off in a freshly emptied rye barrel. I have not talked to Buffalo Trace or The Party Source yet, but I gather that the concept here, if I can be so assuming, is to marry the mellow drinkability of a wheated bourbon with the vibrant, spice intensity of a rye whiskey.
You know what? It works. I have only tasted this 8 year old whiskey informally tonight, but the wheated bourbon comes through first on the palate, then the rye emerges as the flavors progress on the palate. And, as an added benefit, this whiskey is bottled at 63.5%, not the typical 45% ABV of previous Experimental Collection bottlings.
This is certainly exciting on three levels–and all new, as far as I know:
1) I don’t recall a wheated bourbon being finished off in a rye barrel and then bottled.
2) Buffalo Trace appears to be willing to work with retailers, allowing them to create/bottle their own Experimental Collections. How many retailers? I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll find out.
3) It’s bottled at cask strength. A first for the BT Experimental Collection
I’m sure I’ll get a lot more answers in the coming days–both from Buffalo Trace and The Party Source (and maybe other retailers who are doing the same thing but haven’t told me yet). But, I wanted to let you know what I found out, when I found out. After all, this blog is called “What Does John Know?”