Thursday, March 30, 2017


Buffalo Trace Distillery, has announced that it is experimenting with oak barrels made with 300-year-old wood.

This is the latest of many wood-specific experiments that the Kentucky based bourbon distillery has led over recent years. Previous wood experiments have utilized wood harvested from around the world, and looked at barrels made from different parts of a tree.

Buffalo Trace announces that it's experimenting with 300 year old wood

This experiment will allow the team at Buffalo Trace to observe what effects the age of an oak tree itself could have on the taste of the bourbon.

The barrel wood used in this trial came from 300-year-old trees previously cut in Kentucky, the oldest oak trees the distillery could find that had already been harvested.

Working with the barrel manufacturer the East Bernstadt Company, it took more than a year to procure the 300-year-old wood and then a year of stave seasoning before the barrels were made.

Commenting on the news, Harlen Wheatley, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace, said: “It’s a unique opportunity to be able to experiment with a variable that is even older than our Distillery, which is 244 years old. We are really looking forward to seeing how extremely old wood might affect the taste of the bourbon, and hopefully will make some interesting observations along the way that will be useful going forward.”

The 300-year-old barrels were filled and rolled into an aging warehouse in December where they will remain for at least the next six years. The barrels will be monitored every year to observe any differences the wood may impart during the aging process.

This latest wood experiment is part of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Experimental Program, in which the distillery is known for exploring the effects of a range of variables. Previous experiments over the last 20 years, have explored everything from infrared light, to non-traditional grains like rice and oats, to various fill proofs and warehouse variations.

Posted by Steve Rush