Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Are You Doing Enough To Help Buffalo Trace Create The Perfect Bourbon?

Well, are you?

If not, your next chance has arrived. This month, Buffalo Trace Distillery (BT) will release the third round of Single Oak Project Bourbon, another case of twelve 375 ml bottles, each containing one of the 192 slightly different bourbons created for this project.

This is round three of sixteen. I first wrote about the project here.

Since the first release, nearly 1,000 consumers have posted feedback on the Single Oak Project website, rating some or all of the barrels they’ve tasted. Wheaters from high wood (the top of the tree) are leading, barrels #61 and #127, specifically.

Through this feedback, BT will determine which very specific characteristics bourbon drinkers like best, with a goal of using that information to create a 'Holy Grail' bourbon. The more people who participate, the more useful the results will be.

It’s a very long-term project.

For each release, BT cleverly compresses the number of variables presented, so while the project looks at seven variables, each 12-bottle release deals with no more than three. Therefore, any two bottles will teach you something cool. You can, for example, taste two whiskeys in which the only variable is barrel entry proof. Everything else is controlled for -- everything -- and you can taste the difference.

Although Single Oak Project Bourbon is sold only in the U.S., BT has recorded web site visitors from 31 countries.

This new release explores recipe, wood grain, and barrel entry proof. You can compare rye-recipe bourbon to wheat-recipe bourbon; and barrel entry proofs of 105° (52.5% ABV) or 125° (62.5% ABV), the legal maximum; as well as barrel wood grain rated as coarse, average, or fine.

The suggested retail price is $46.35 per bottle (375 ml), but some retailers are selling Single Oak by the case only.

You have to admire BT’s audacity, first in postulating that bourbon perfection can be attained, then in launching a project to attain it that will take 20 or more years to complete. Like building a medieval cathedral, it's a project to span generations.


Wade said...

Those bottles sell for $75 here in Houston. I have not and will not partcipate. If BT wants my expert opinion and what makes a great bourbon, then they can pay me for that information.

Anonymous said...

So, I should pay a very high premium price for a small bottle of what may be, at best, an OK bourbon. And then provide my free input (along with the other unaware / unwashed, e-Bay traders) for to BT for.... for them to screw future buyers with the next hyped great thing?

Why, oh why, whould I want to do that?

Mike Dski said...

I was under the impression that it was going to be a four year project. Please explain the twenty year statement.
Yours in Oak,
Mike Dski

Mike Dski said...

I was under the impression that the S.O.P was a four year project. Please explain the twenty year staement.
Your in Oak,
Mike Dski

Chuck Cowdery said...

Four years to release all 192 barrels, but the barrels were made and filled more than 10 years ago and if they intend to make a 'perfect whiskey' based on the SOP results, that will have to age for at least 8 years. That's more than 20 years right there before they can really put a bow on it and say they did what they set out to to when they first picked out the trees and began the project.

Anonymous said...

i can confirm what wade said about the price in houston and i also agree with wade about paying $75 for each 375ml bottle in order to help BT.

Chuck Cowdery said...

For the record, y'all, I meant the whole 'help BT' thing facetiously. I do, however, feel the SOP gives enthusiasts an opportunity to participate in something interesting and potentially important. People who do it do it for their own enjoyment and enlightenment, not to help BT.