Buffalo Trace unveils third French Oak expression

Old Charter Oak French Oak

As part of its Old Charter Oak brand, the Kentucky distillery has announced its latest release

As a continuation of the work Buffalo Trace Distillery has been doing to showcase oak tree varietals, through its Old Charter Oak, the brand has released a French Oak expression.

Old Charter Oak was first revealed in 2018 as a way to highlight the diverse taste profile of barrels obtained from trees grown in a variety of countries, climates and soil. The oak trees used for the Charter Oak brand vary by country of origin, or species, or US state. Some barrels are even made from century oaks, 100-, 200- or 300-year-old oak trees. 

For the latest release, Buffalo Trace is revisiting its successful French Oak series, with a new release available beginning in late November.  In 2013, Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France, filled them with its Mash #1, the same mash bill used to make Buffalo TraceEagle Rare and other Bourbons from the Distillery. 

“We first experimented with French Oak barrels in 1995,” said master distiller Harlen Wheatley.  “We released our first experiment with French Oak in 2006, and we were so pleased with the results we bought more barrels from France and put more Bourbon up to age. Over time, this has become one of our favorite Bourbons and it’s always a treat when we’ve got some that are ready to bottle. It is power packed with sweetness, sourced from the vanilla, caramel and wood sugars while balanced with the French Oak tannins. With the French Oak barrels, we are exploring how the flavors are delivered at different levels. It speaks to the regionality of wood and how it can impact the flavor of the Bourbon whiskey.” 

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 American white oak.  

This is the third release of Old Charter Oak French Oak, and the sixth release overall for the Old Charter Oak brand.  Past releases include Mongolian Oak, Canadian Oak, and Chinkapin Oak.  Old Charter Oak Bourbon will be releasing many different oak expressions in the future, with its next release planned for 2022. Subsequent releases are planned each year.    

The suggested retail pricing for the French Oak is $69.99.  Like the previous releases in the Old Charter Oak series, supplies will be limited. The Old Charter Oak French Oak Bourbon is 92 proof. 

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