Buffalo Trace Old Charter Oak Spanish Oak

by Daniel Galyean

Buffalo Trace Distillery is known for its innovative approach to whiskey-making, and their latest release in the Old Charter Oak collection, Spanish Oak Bourbon, is no exception. This unique whiskey is aged in barrels made from staves of oak trees harvested from the forests of northern Spain. The staves were seasoned outdoors before being made into barrels, resulting in a whiskey that is distinct from its American Oak-aged counterparts.

The Old Charter Oak collection is a celebration of the role of oak in making great whiskey. The collection explores the various possible taste profiles of whiskey resulting from barrels created from trees grown in different countries, climates, and soil. The oak trees used each year vary by country of origin, species, or U.S. state, with some barrels made from century-old trees that grew between 100 to 300 years.

Harlen Wheatley, the Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace Distillery, explains that the Spanish Oak Bourbon has a drier, spicier taste profile than American Oak-aged whiskeys. The Spanish Oak imbues tasting notes of deep oak and dense caramel, followed by rich vanilla and an abundance of dark stone fruit, finishing with notes of toasted nuts and baking spice.

“The whiskey extracts from the charred oak barrel exciting elements like eugenol, vanillin and whiskey lactone,” said Wheatley. “American Oak has higher proportions of vanillin and whiskey lactone, resulting in bourbon with a softer, sweeter taste and notes of vanilla and caramel. Our Spanish Oak, on the other hand, has more eugenol, meaning drier, spicier notes and flavors like clove are imparted onto the liquid.”

The Old Charter Oak collection, including the Spanish Oak Bourbon, challenges the common misconception that bourbon must be aged in new American Oak barrels. While most bourbons mature in American White Oak barrels, federal regulations do not specify what type of oak the barrel must be, only that it must be a new, charred oak container.

“At Buffalo Trace Distillery, we are deeply committed to honoring the traditions of our category but also embracing change and pushing the limits of innovation to see where American whiskey can go in the future,” Wheatley continued. “Our Old Charter Oak collection is a superb example of trying new things and offering consumers and fans more ways to enjoy our award-winning portfolio of whiskeys.”

The packaging for Spanish Oak will remain consistent with the other releases in the Old Charter Oak collection, with an upscale look consisting of a glass bottle with a cork finish. Each bottle has an oak medallion on the front depicting the Charter Oak tree. Bottles are packaged in 750ml and available at a suggested retail pricing of $69.99.

In conclusion, Buffalo Trace Distillery continues to push the boundaries of whiskey-making with the release of Spanish Oak Bourbon in the Old Charter Oak collection. This unique whiskey offers a new taste profile that is distinct from traditional American Oak-aged whiskeys. The Old Charter Oak collection celebrates the role of oak in making great whiskey and offers consumers and fans more ways to enjoy Buffalo Trace Distillery’s award-winning portfolio of whiskeys.

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