Review: Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Bourbon Round Four

Once more into the breach? We’re a quarter of the way into the Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project, with the fourth round of 12 Bourbons released this month, bringing the total to 48 out of 192.

Need previous coverage or a baseline of what this experimental series is all about? Find it here:
Round One (including all the basics of the approach to this series)
Round Two
Round Three

We won’t waste time this quarter going into the basics. This round focuses on the differences between two warehouses at Buffalo Trace, one with wood floors (Warehouse K), and one with concrete (Warehouse L). You’ll find both rye and wheat whiskeys here, plus the usual variety of wood grain in barrels, but otherwise the details are the same: 125 entry proof, #3 char, level 12 seasoning, and bottom half of tree used for the barrels. As usual, all Bourbons are bottled at 90 proof.

My results: I found the Warehouse K whiskeys to be better than their otherwise identical Warehouse L counterparts 4 out of 6 times. I gave them tie grades once and scored the Warehouse L whiskey higher once (and I think the Warehouse K whiskey on that comparison was simply off). Wood ricks are of course traditional in Bourbon country, and maybe this is why: They seem to produce better booze.

That said, on the whole, I found this round to be very worthwhile — in fact, taken as a group, it’s probably the best set of releases to date. Not sure if it’s me, but there’s a lot of sweetness in this batch… for the most a good thing.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #10 – Interesting texture, almost like dissolved sugar. Great body and good balance, with flavors of apricots, tangerines, aged wood, and a long vanilla cream finale. Smooth, silky finish. One of the best from this series to date. A (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #14 – More syrupy, and more wood influence. Bit of raisin in the body, giving this a touch more interest. Not a bad whiskey at all. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #42 – A bigger whiskey than the previous, more sweet, and a bit of burn. Cedar box and evergreen notes. A solid Bourbon, especially for the sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) out there. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #46 – Heavy wood influence, a bit overcooked. The finish redeems with a powerful cinnamon character. Plenty of vanilla here, too. Solid, woody Bourbon. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #74 – Pure vanilla and caramel, a lovely Kentucky approximation of creme brulee. The wood makes an appearance at the end, which somewhat mars the fun. Still like it. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #78 – Lots of wood here, but that fades with time in the glass. Beneath that there’s some sugar. Caramel character, to be specific. That sweetness grows as the finish rumbles on. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #106 – Nice orange character, which grows stronger as the finish builds. A sizeable wood influence in here, too, but the balance is not as full-formed as with other Bourbons in this collection. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #110 – Smooth caramel in a glass, with some unusual herbal notes on the finish, plus some dark chocolate character. Quite a departure from the other whiskeys in this collection, particularly its sibling, #106 — and really quite enjoyable with its complexity. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #138 – Evergreen notes on the nose lead to a somewhat traditional and sweet whiskey. The finish is a touch sour compared to the others in this round, but on the whole it’s another solid Bourbon. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #142 – Perhaps the first miss in this collection. Not much happening on the nose, and on the tongue it fades quickly. Over-wooded, with the flavor sucked out a bit. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #170 – Pure nougat on the nose and the palate, but a touch on the alcoholic side, leaving a hot finish lacking in most of the other whiskeys here. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #174 – A touch of menthol, some cherry notes, then a lingering, lasting sweetness. Great balance. Lovely Bourbon. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

$46 each (375ml bottle) / singleoakproject.com

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2 Responses to Review: Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Bourbon Round Four

  1. Pingback: Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project – Round 4 - Scotch & Ice Cream

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