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Buffalo Trace experimental whiskies track altitude influences on flavor

These 12-year-old bourbons show influences of altitude aging.
These 12-year-old bourbons show influences of altitude aging.
image via Buffalo Trace Distillery

Kentucky's Buffalo Trace Distillery is known for a number of popular bourbon labels, including Ancient Age, Blanton's, Van Winkle and Eagle Rare. It also dabbles in experimental offerings, namely its Experimental Collection, and recently unveiled the most current bottlings from this project.

Buffalo Trace's Experimental Collection draws from over 2,000 experimental barrels that are aging in the distillery's warehouses. Each barrel is said to have "unique characteristics" that might include different mash bills, types of wood or barrel toasts. The aim of this ultimately seems to be the creation of the perfect bourbon, but it also helps build some buzz as well.

This latest experimental undertaking asks the question of what happens when you age the exact same bourbon for the same length of time on different warehouse floors. Back in 2001 Buffalo Trace put new bourbon into barrels on floors one, five and nine of one of its aging facilities, and now has bottled in 375 ml containers the results of this 12-year-old spirit.

As for what Buffalo Trace found, it noted that what was aged on the first floor has a delicate flavor, while that of what came from the ninth has a deep aroma and flavor that hints of "a roasted nut sweetness paired with green pears and figs." Those wanting to get a sample of these characteristics will need to hunt down the bottlings and pay around $46 for each.