The vast majority of Bourbon Whiskey is aged American White Oak barrels. That’s pretty much the standard. According to the TTB regulations the only barrel requirement is that “the oak container must be a charred new oak container.” So it can be any kind of oak. There’s also no requirement that says it has to be a barrel or how long it must stay in there but that’s a story for another day.
In 2018 Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky, owner of the Old Charter Oak Bourbon brand introduced the Old Charter Oak Collection a collection that explores the aging and maturation of bourbon whiskey in different types of oak tree varietals grown in different countries, climates and soil. The brand dates back to 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze created the bourbon, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree, a famous 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. Old Charter changed owners a few times, until it was purchased by Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999. Last year’s first release in the collection featured bourbon that was aged at the distillery for 10 years in Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) barrels. This latest release uses wood found nearly 4,400 miles west of Mongolia from France.
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Old Charter Oak Aged 12 Years in French Oak Barrels
The 2019 Old Charter Oak features a small number of barrels brought to the U.S. from France in 2007.The barrels were filled with the Buffalo Trace Mash Bill No. 1, the same mashbill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and several other bourbons at the distillery.
Tasting notes provided by Buffalo Trace Distillery say, “The French Oak…as having a nose of vanilla with hints of apricot, cherry, and rose petal. The palate is a thick and creamy maple syrup, with the oak flavor coming through. A long finish of chocolate and toasted oak round it out.”
A 3rd Old Charter Oak Releases Planned for Later in 2019
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. “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.
The Old Charter Oak collection is designed to explore, honor, and celebrate the role of oak in making great whiskey. The oak trees used for this brand vary by country of origin, or species, or U.S. state. Some barrels are even made from century oaks, 100, 200, or 300 year old oak trees.
The Old Charter Oak French Oak Bourbon Whiskey is bottled at 92° (46% ABV) will be available at retail in late June with a suggested retail price of $69.99. Packaging for the French Oak will be similar to the Mongolian Oak with a glass bottle with a cork finish. Each bottle will have an oak medallion on the front depicting the Charter Oak tree.
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