Buffalo Trace Distillery continues its exploration into oak tree varietals with the release of Old Charter Oak Canadian Oak.
The company last year announced the Old Charter Oak series, which looks into the different influences of aging in wood from trees grown in different countries, climates and soil. For the newest release, Buffalo Trace obtained barrels from Canada and filled them with its Mash #1 — the same mashbill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and several other bourbons from the distillery.
Canadian oak trees differ from American oak trees in that they are harder and have a tighter grain structure, the company says. “The tighter grain allows the whiskey to penetrate more layers in the wood, but it does take it longer to do it,” says Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “So the longer the bourbon ages, the more flavor can be extracted.”
The Old Charter Oak Canadian Oak aged for 10 years, and is 92 proof. It will be available in late October, for a suggested retail price of $69.99 per 750-ml. bottle. Supplies are limited.
Tasting notes for the Canadian Oak describe it as having a nose of caramel and berries, the company reports. The palate has hints of vanilla and maple syrup, before a long finish of oak, chocolate and pepper.
This is the third release in the Old Charter Oak Collection, following Mongolian Oak and French Oak. A fourth release is scheduled for early 2020. Subsequent releases are planned a few times each year, indefinitely.
By federal standards, bourbon is required to be aged in a new, charred oak container. However, there is no specification it must be American white oak — it’s just that nearly all bourbons made today are aged in white oak.
The Old Charter brand dates back to 1874, with its creation by Adam and Ben Chapeze, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree, a symbol of American independence and free spirit, which grew in Connecticut in the 12th or 13th century until it fell in a storm in 1856. The Old Charter brand changed owners a few times, before Buffalo Trace Distillery purchased it in 1999.
The existing Old Charter Bourbon is still produced by parent company Sazerac. There are no plans to discontinue it. The Old Charter Oak series is an upscale brand extension, like Buffalo Trace has done with its E. H. Taylor, Jr, line.