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09.2011

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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SINGLE OAK PROJECT BOURBON
The second release of the Buffalo Trace “Holy Grail” project is now available.  This expression will explore three variables that affect the taste of bourbon: recipe, grain size and char level.  Some of the bottles contain bourbon made with rye and others with wheat.  The barrels themselves were made from different trees, each with varying degrees of thickness to their wood grain, from fine to very coarse.  All other variables in the experimental project, such as the entry proof, stave seasoning, tree cut, and warehouse location remain constant.  Consumers have the opportunity to rate each whiskey they taste at singleoakproject.com.  The feedback will help determine which type of bourbon connoisseurs prefer most.  The Single Oak Project is part of a research project Buffalo Trace Distillery began conducting in 1999 by selecting 96 trees with different wood grains and then dividing them into a top and bottom piece, yielding 192 unique sections.  From there, staves were created from each section and were air dried for either 6 or 12 months.  A single barrel was then created from each tree section, resulting in 192 barrels.  These barrels were given either a number three or a number four char and then filled with either wheat or rye recipe bourbon.  To further the variety of experiments, the barrels were filled at two different proofs, 1O5 and 125.  Two completely different warehouses were used, one with wooden ricks and one with concrete floors.  For eight years the Distillery continued with its tracking process, creating databases and coming up with a potential of 1396 tasting combinations from these 192 barrels.  The Single Oak Project Bourbon will be released in a series every three months over the next four years until all of the 192 barrels have been released.  The quantity is very limited.  Every case will contain 12 bottles, each from a different barrel.  The second release is made up of barrel numbers 29, 31, 61, 63, 93, 95, 125, 127, 157, 159, 189, 191.  At the conclusion of the Project, the Distillery plans to take the top rated barrel based on online consumer feedback, make more of that product and launch it under the Single Oak Project nameplate.  Suggested retail is $46.35 per 375ml bottle.  Available from Horizon Beverage Company.

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