Review: Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Bourbon Round Ten

We’re into double digits on Buffalo Trace’s “Single Oak Project” experiment. With 10 rounds down and 6 to go, the end of this extravaganza is finally in sight… all designed to find the Holy Grail of just what is responsible for the perfect glass of whiskey.

Previous rounds can be found here:

Round One (including all the basics of the approach to this series)
Round Two
Round Three
Round Four
Round Five
Round Six
Round Seven
Round Eight
Round Nine

This round looks primarily at entry proof and wood grain size, testing 105 and 125 entry proof along with tight/average/coarse wood grains, plus the effect of recipe (rye vs. wheat, which so far has been tested in every round). The other variables in this round remain the same, including char level (#3), tree cut (tops), stave seasoning (all level 12), and aging warehouse (warehouse K, with wood floors in this case).

All told I really enjoyed this round. I think it was one of the most successful in the SOP to date, with barrel #41 a standout in my mind — perhaps the best Single Oak Project bourbon released so far.

Per the company, when aggregating customer reviews, barrel number 59 is currently in the lead, with barrels number 92 and number 188 close behind.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #9 – Very woody and overcooked. Dusty, with notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee grounds. Shows its charms after a while in glass, but it’s a long time coming. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #25 – Heavy menthol on the nose, hot body. After the mint character fades, it’s all burnt wood and chimney fires on the palate, but the finish just sort of lies there. (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #41 – Much better balance here, both with a seductive nose and a well-built body. Lots going on throughout, with notes of butterscotch, rum raisin ice cream, and cherries on the finish. Altogether it’s got a great balance of flavors that come together swimmingly, though the body is slightly thin. One of the best bottlings in this whole series. (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #57 – Heavy with sawdust and lumberyard notes on the nose, with a slight orange tinge. Feels undeveloped on the tongue, lacking any real definition or direction. Fades quickly. B- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #73 – Nose of tobacco leaf and barrel staves, unusual and intriguing. The body offers a surprising mix of wood, butterscotch, mushroom, and vegetal character — which is altogether more interesting than it may sound in that description. The finish grows quite sweet. This one grew on me quite a bit. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #89 – Strong apple notes on the nose, with some pleasant cinnamon undertones. This is a unique whiskey for the Single Oak Project, light and fruity but also balanced by ample oak. This is another winner, but a wholly different spirit than the others in this round. A-  (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #105 – Absent on the nose, a surprise given the relative depth of flavor in the palate — lots of caramel and vanilla, quite the sugar bomb on the tongue. Some honey and candied ginger flavors add complexity, but still can’t manage to coax anything into the aroma. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #121 – Another one with a mild nose, this one with hints of banana and apples, followed by touches of sawdust. The body is also very restrained, coming forward with more orange and sherry notes, vanilla ice cream. Another for the sweet tooths, but I like it. A-  (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #137 – Classic Bourbon nose, quite woody. Huge spiciness on this one, with baking spices balanced by a pepperiness I haven’t much seen in this round. Drinks hotter than its 90 proof, which is perhaps a good thing in this case. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #153 – Ample wood on the nose, backed up with menthol. Slightly tight on the palate, a little closed off, the wood becoming a touch astringent in the end. Lacking in any real secondary character. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #169 – Hot on the nose, mild on the tongue. This whiskey makes no sense! Banana nut bread notes come along, with some basic caramel character and touches of mint. Fine, in the end, but not entirely in balance. (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #185 – Woody, lots of citrus, overall a fun, frontier-style whiskey with plenty to enjoy. The lumberyard notes are what stick with you, but they’re light enough to leave you more with a sense of well-being than one of kicking up sawdust. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

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

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One Response to Review: Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Bourbon Round Ten

  1. Pingback: Single Oak Project Project | RW&B

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