By Federal standards, bourbon is required to be aged in a new, charred oak container. But there is no specification it must be American white oak, it’s just that nearly all bourbons made today are aged in white oak. To explore the different taste profiles of barrels obtained from trees grown in different countries, climates and soil, Buffalo Trace announced its Old Charter Oak series late last year. Old Charter Oak French Oak is the latest release in this oak tree varietal exploration series.
For the newest release, Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France in 2007, and filled them with its Mash #1, the same mashbill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and several other award-winning bourbons at the Distillery. The Old Charter Oak French Oak has now been bottled at 92 proof (46% abv) and will be available at retail in late June.
This is the second release in the Old Charter Oak Collection. The first release, Old Charter Oak Mongolian Oak, was released late last year. All the Old Charter Oak Bourbon series will be released over time, with a third release scheduled for later this year. Subsequent releases are planned a few times each year, indefinitely. The suggested retail pricing for the French Oak is $69.99, but the different oak varieties released over the years will have different price points, all in a similar range.
“We’re excited to release our second bourbon in this ground breaking series. As of now, we have bourbon aging for the Old Charter Oak collection scheduled for release now through 2030, but we’ll keep producing more each year for more new whiskeys beyond that,” said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director of Buffalo Trace.
Producer’s tasting notes
Nose: vanilla with hints of apricot, cherry, and rose petal
Palate: thick and creamy maple syrup, with the oak flavor coming through
Finish: a long finish of chocolate and toasted oak round it out