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.