Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 136

Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 136

A bittersweet weekend to be sure, but one deserving of a nice bourbon.  My Missouri Tigers beat Ole Miss on Saturday night, propelling them to a number five ranking in the country – exciting times indeed!  Next week it’s a matchup against Texas A&M, for the chance to play in the SEC championship game.

Unfortunately, Sunday led to a feeling all Detroit Lions fans know to well: the dismay of watching our beloved Motor City Kitties grab a defeat from the jaws of victory.  Four interceptions, a fumble, and a blocked punt to boot (pun sadly intended).  A brutal game watching experience while the November cold howled outside.

If that wasn’t enough, this week we raise our bourbon glasses to the passing of one of the best television characters I can remember rooting for (Spoiler Alert): Richard Harrow on Boardwalk Empire.  In my 36 years of television watching, I have grown fond of a lot of shows and certain characters – Silvio Dante (Sopranos), Jim Halpert (Office), Boyd Crowder (Justified), and on and on.  But few, if any, did I root for as much as I did for the sad, sharpshooting war veteran from Boardwalk Empire.  I (and we) rooted for his salvation, and felt true joy when he found it.  He was often the conscience on a show full of dark, evil deeds.  And last night, in the season finale, he was laid to rest after saving those people he cared about most, and was done in by the very soul he had found.  Rest in peace Richard – we drink to you!

So without further ado – our bourbon of the week!

Dan's Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 136
Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 136

Today we try another bottle from the ever fun and interesting Buffalo Trace Distillery‘s Single Oak Project, and today’s comes from batch number 136.  A few details about 136:

Barrel # 136
Distillation Date: 1/6/2003
Age: 8 years old
Entry Proof: 125 info
Bourbon Recipe: Rye
Char Level: #4 Char
Months: Seasoned 6
Tree Cut: Bottom
Warehouse: L
Warehouse Type: Concrete Floor
Warehouse Location: L-3-27

I do love trying these unique one-of-a-kind bourbons, for the reasons I’ve stated before – much of the fun for me is in comparing the differences, the subtleties of the character that so many bourbons have, and by making each barrel so different, Buffalo Trace has really given us something to enjoy in that special way.

My take: There was much disagreement in the house on this one between my wife Jen and I. This particular batch exemplifies the differences in what each of us likes in our bourbons.

The nose was warm and inviting – a rich caramel and toffee gave way to notes of dried fruits and an almost sticky sense of molasses and honey.  One of the best noses I’ve encountered.

The mouth-feel was rich and thick, although not overwhelmingly so.  The taste was quite smooth, carrying through on the toffee and caramel, with a bit of molasses and nutmeg thrown in for good measure.  It was a little too smooth for Jen, who likes her bourbon spicy and punchier.  The finish was medium and also smooth, not overwhelming or harsh in the least.

To conclude – I liked this one – alot!

Dan scale (1-10): 8.1

Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 72

Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel Number 72

Last Christmas, I received an interesting gift from my mother – three unique bottles from the Buffalo Trace ‘Single Oak Project.’  I was intrigued immediately, and the explanation she had printed off to go along with the beautifully wrapped gift explained just how unique this was:

“…It all started with 96 individually selected American oak trees that differed according to the number of growth rings per inch and growing location. Each tree was then cut into two parts – top and bottom – yielding 192 unique tree sections. A single barrel was constructed from each unique section. Prior to construction we varied the stave seasoning times. The 192 barrels were then charred differently. These single oak barrels were then filled with different recipe whiskeys, at various entry proofs and aged in a variety of different warehouse styles.

We believe that this experiment will allow you to directly compare the impact of 7 different critical variables across 192 bottles for a total of 1,396 taste combinations. None of the 192 bottles in the complete set are exactly alike….” (from the Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project website)

After several months of admiring the bottles and project, we finally decided to take one out for a test spin!

Dan's Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel number 72
Dan’s Bourbon of the Week: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project Barrel number 72

So what did we find?

My take: The nose said this one was going to have some flavor.  The sweet smells of toffee, caramel and maple syrup meshed with the tangier notes of baking spices, nutmeg, and a slight smell of oak.

The taste was dry and thick, certainly a mouth-coater.  It tasted full bodied, and the taste agreed.  Again, sweet tastes of honey, caramel and toffee mixed with the nutmeg and oak, and I dare say there was a peak of mint in there as well!

With a long, lingering but smooth finish, this was a good glass of whiskey.  So why not a higher rating?  While flavorful, there was nothing truly outstanding about this glass, no real standout characteristic.  I’m very enthusiastic about trying the others though!

Dan scale (1-10): 7.7