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Monday, April 6, 2020

Buffalo Trace Announces Next Edition of Old Charter Oak Series with Chinkapin Oak

Buffalo Trace has announced the next edition of their Old Charter Oak Series with the addition of Chinkapin Oak. The Old Charter Oak Series  is Buffalo Trace's attempt to try barrels produced with various types and species of oak, with the intent to bring out unique flavors and taste profiles. This new version follows the October 2019 announcement of Canadian Oak, the June 2019 announcement of French Oak, and Mongolian Oak in December of 2018.

For this release, Buffalo Trace went Chinkapin Oak, which is native to the Midwest United States and often found in parks and on large estates. For this release, Buffalo Trace started with staves that were air dried for 24 months before assembling into barrels. For context, most barrels air dry for 3-6 months. Additionally, most Buffalo Trace barrels go through a 55 second #4 char... the barrels used for this release went through 35 seconds, which they say was just enough to caramelize the wood sugars and unlock the flavor in the oak

Master Distiller Harlan Wheatley says:
The extra seasoning of the wood allows it to break down and we then capture the flavors when the barrel is charred. The extra time caramelizes wood sugar and reduces some of the tannic flavor
Chinkapin Oak is made up of Buffalo Trace's mash bill #1, which is thought to have a lower rye content than their other mash bill (appropriately named mash bill #2). This release was aged 9 years and bottled at 93 proof (46.5 alcohol). The MSRP is $69.99. The bottle has an oak medallion on the front depicting the Charter Oak tree and will be available in limited quantities beginning in April. No word on if this is will make its way to Ohio.

The tasting notes are:

Nose: Cherries and spearmint with hints of floral
Taste: Fresh herbs and honey
Finish: Warm baking spices, followed by dark chocolate.

My Take

I love what Buffalo Trace is doing with the different kinds of oak to see what flavors and tastes come out of them. I also love the $69.99 price for a nine year bourbon. Unfortunately, none of the Charter Oak Series have made their way to Ohio so this is one you and I are unlikely to ever have the opportunity to try. If you do see this out and about, I would buy immediately, given the rarity and uniqueness.

If you see this out and about or get a taste, please drop a note in the comments below with your thoughts.

Source: Buffalo Trace

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