If you have the opportunity to visit Buffalo Trace Distillery in historic Frankfort, Kentucky the first barrel warehouse you’ll see up close is O.F.C Warehouse C. This warehouse was built c1885 by Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. the man that helped to push through the 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Act. One of the things that makes this warehouse unique is it was one of the first warehouses that was heat controlled. In the cold winter months the steam would be sent through the building to help in the maturation process of the whiskey. Even today, Buffalo Trace warehouses are steam heated in the cool months.
This warehouse has withstood floods, blizzards, 100 degree Fahrenheit days and even a tornado (see photo below) but the core limestone and brick building has remained the same for its 136 years and continues to produce bourbon whiskey under the Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. name. And this spring is no exception with the announcement of this latest release.
A 10 Year Old Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. 10 Year Old Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Whiskey
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This ten-year-old Bottled in Bond bourbon was aged in Warehouse C, built by Col. Taylor in 1885, and the barrel warehouse he was most proud of – the final piece in his “model distillery.” Taylor highlights Warehouse C twice in the lithograph book he commissioned, and it is the only warehouse in the book to get its own feature. You can one of the two images below.
“We know Col. Taylor had a lot of pride and affection for Warehouse C, as evidenced by his attention for detail, especially on the exterior with the architectural features,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “Fortunately, it’s a really good aging warehouse for bourbon too, so not only does the warehouse look good, it produces some of our best whiskies. This year’s release of the Warehouse C bourbon is no exception.”
Originally built before elevators were available, ramps were used inside Warehouse C to manually roll barrels to each floor. With six floors holding a total of 24,000 barrels and each barrel weighing approximately 500 pounds when filled, it must have been quite a task to get barrels into their ricks.
In more modern times, a barrel elevator was installed, and Warehouse C was re-ricked and re-floored to maximize capacity. Since barrel warehouses are built with the barrel ricks as standalone units not attached to the walls for safety measures in case of a collapse, the re-design of Warehouse C when the elevator was put in allows for good air flow throughout the floors, making for an excellent all around aging warehouse for new and old barrels.
2021 Spring Release Blended from Barrels Aged on 2nd and 5th Floors
The barrels in the E.H. Taylor Jr. Warehouse C release were all aged for ten years in the center of Warehouse C, with half of them coming from the 2nd floor and the other half from the 5th floor. The second floor is an outstanding aging floor for older barrels. The ricks are very tight, making it slow and difficult to put in new barrels. The floor is very dry, making it ideal for 10 to 15-year-old products. The fifth floor of Warehouse C is a well-rounded aging floor with windows all the way around, providing excellent air flow throughout the floor. There is ample sunlight through these windows which helps heat up the warehouse and the aging process.
Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. 10 Year Old Bottled-in-Bond Tasting Notes
The ideal aging locations for these barrels led to a wonderful flavor combination, with a nose of cherry cobbler with rum sauce and a hint of oak; a palate of cherry cola, vanilla bean and toasted oak; and a finish that is long and lingering with a hint of spearmint, coffee, raisin bread and anise.
Like some of the previous releases, this one-time-only bottling of E.H. Taylor, Jr Warehouse C Bourbon is very limited. Also consistent with past releases, this bottle displays a vintage label and is offered inside a distinct canister reminiscent of Taylor’s whiskey package from over one hundred years ago. These six bottle cases will be shipped in an impressive wooden box modeled after the wooden crates used by Taylor to transport goods during the days before Prohibition.
The Col. E.H. Taylor, Jr. 10 Year Old Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey special bottling from Warehouse C will be available in early June. The suggested retail price is $69.99 per 750ml bottle.
The O. F. C. Distillery Warehouse C. Built 1885.
The manufacture of a perfect whiskey is not so desirable a consummation if the subsequent storage does not preserve and improve its fine qualities. Hence the proprietors of the O. F. C. distillery have spared no pains or expense in providing substantial, dry, and commodious warehouses for such storage and constant supervision of the packages therein. These packages are manufactured at their own shops, of material selected in the mountain forests of Kentucky by their own agents, and are first-class in every particular.
The illustration (see Plate 11), shows an exact view of the new O. F. C. warehouse, designed to reflect the best method of storage. Only the old-style three-tier storage is observed, whereby dryness, ventilation, and light — properties essential to ripen whiskey — are attained liberally. Every barrel of O. F. C. possesses the advantages stated. The dampness, darkness, and consequent low proof so often found in the dense aggregation of barrels in patent rick warehouses find no place upon the O. F. C. premises. A low rate of insurance is guaranteed by all insurance companies. Security is provided by competent watchmen and a watchman’s clock.