Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A New Hope

Those of you who have not come here from Reddit's r/bourbon, should really check out what is becoming a great new bourbon community. As a case in point, we recently had an AMA with Harlan Wheatley of Buffalo Trace. It was really fun to hear about BT right from the distiller himself, but I was particularly eager to hear the answers to my questions:

Q1: Sazerac 18 and VWFRR are currently produced from old stocks, but I know you are producing fantastic young rye in the form of baby Saz and THH. Can you give us a ballpark as to when the rye fanatics among us can expect a Buffalo Trace-made 12+ year rye from you guys? Even if its 2015, as I expect, I really just need something to look forward to once the tanked stuff runs out.

Q2: Could you comment on the relative importance of barrel selection, warehouse location, mashbill and entry proof to the final products you produce? We all tend to get wrapped up in mashbill, but I'd love to hear your thoughts about the other variables at work.

Q3: Any chance of ever having a #2 mashbill in the BTAC?

Thanks so much for doing this!

Buffalo Trace:

A1: Not long now, just a few more years to wait

A2: These are the key markers in production. Barrel selection being probably the most influential on the final taste. You can take the same day’s production and age in a barrel side by side in the warehouse and get different results. This is why we put so much emphasis on the evaluation and tasting of our whiskies. From our experimentation we know that the mashbill is one of the more important influences on the flavor. However as above they are all very important. I have broken it down before basically like this: Mashbill – 12 %, Fermentation/Yeast – 12 %, Distillation – 20 % Aging Technique – 50%, Bottling/Processing – 5%. All being their relative % responsible for flavor.

A3:You never know, but any plans like that are proprietary.

So! Maybe it won't be long until we get a fresh crop of well-aged ryes; this is very good news.


  1. 2017 for the VWFRR I believe.........Just a bit longer.

  2. Not sure how extensive your dusty hunting goes, but I located some Elmer T Lee with gold wax. I believe they switched to the foil in 2005-2006. What I found most interesting was that the bottom of the bottled was etched with something along the lines of "Liquor Bottle Clyde Forth United Kingdom A7 CFP82". Does this mean anything to you? I thought it was very strange that the bottles would be sourced from across the pond...

    1. Strange, but I unfortunately can't help you there, except to say that it is probably good stuff.