Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project: Every Barrel Reviewed on One Page

Looks like there’s still plenty of interest in the recently-completed Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project. Want to look up a barrel but can’t stand dealing with the search system (I don’t blame you) — then here ya go, every single barrel reviewed on one page, in numerical order. As a reminder, barrel #80 was named the winner when a dozen spirits writers (including both myself and Paul Pacult, the only two people to review every bottle in the series) visited with Buffalo Trace earlier this year.

I’ll be writing more about the SOP, including some in-depth analysis based on my own reviews and public ratings in the near future… stay tuned!

How about a spreadsheet with the whole series, including all the details of each bourbon, plus all the ratings? YOU GOT IT! (corrected 9/2/2015)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #1 – Orange and caramel notes, otherwise a relatively workmanlike Bourbon with plenty of vanilla going on. A bit bitter on the very end. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #2 – Classic, with lots of depth of flavor. Touches of sandalwood, honey, and walnuts all meld together into a well-integrated, creamy, and lightly spiced (yet lengthy) finish. It goes down almost too easy, offering all the classic bourbon notes with every sip. Easily the best of this round. A (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #3 – Overwhelming orange notes, young. Not overly sweet, lots of bite. No real wood character. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 16 growth rings/inch, 42 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #4 – Astringent on the tongue and hugely grain-focused. The finish is medicinal, sour, and rough. One of my least favorite of the bunch. C- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 16 growth rings/inch, 47 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #5 – Heavy apples, very fruity. Light body, pleasant and easy. Touch of citrus on the back end. B+(rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #6 –Slightly more astringent than #5, more burly. Dark chocolate and coffee bean, charcoal character on the finish. Feels overcooked. C+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #7 – A melange of aromas here, but heavy on the mint. The body has more of a chocolate mint character to it, but some racy heat and a slightly odd oatmeal character underpins the finish. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 15 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #8 – A really solid entry, heavier on the spicy character than most of the round. Good balance, with more of a sugar-forward character than the otherwise similar barrel #167. A close second place to that barrel. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

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 #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 #11 – Muted nose, with straightforward wood elements the clearest component of this whiskey. The body is wood all the way, very drying on the finish, and with only some dried herbal elements to give it much life or interest. Not a “bad” whiskey, but it’s one of the most boring of the entire Project to date. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #12 – Foresty — with eucalyptus and solid oak notes. The hearty body melds chewy wood with some modest fruit notes. A bit ashy on the finish. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #13 – Very heavy on the wood, this is big oak in a glass, tempered a touch by some winey notes on the mid-palate. The finish is as woody as the attack, with hints of licorice. A bit plain, but if you’re a fan of heavily wooded whiskeys, you may find more to like. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 18 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top 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 #15 – The nose is spicy with hints of cherries, offering promise. Surprisingly there’s lots of marshmallow on the palate, spiced fruits, and a silky, caramel candy bar finish. A lovely and surprisingly little whiskey. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #16 – A big, alcohol-heavy nose disguises mint, lumberyard, and black pepper notes. The body is rich with spice, but a silky caramel character comes across to smooth out the finish. This one drinks like a much bigger, older whiskey than it is. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #17 – A sweeter style, but limited on nuance. Nothing wrong here, but it comes across more like a Canadian whisky, blended and young. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #18 – Lots of vanilla, very easy, pleasant. Plenty of wood on the nose. Cherry notes on the finish. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #19 – Racy, powerful nose. On the palate, restraint rules the day, with more raw, wood oil notes ruling the day. Light touches of cinnamon, licorice, and popcorn dance on the finish, none of which is overwhelmingly in balance or intriguing. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #20 – Well-rounded, with touches of cinnamon atop some traditional, lumber-heavy notes. The body heads strongly into sawdust territory, with some citrus notes on the back end. Fine, but undistinguished. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #21 – Sherried notes on the nose lead to a rather racy body. Lots of wood up front, but this works its way, eventually, into touches of licorice, brown butter, cloves, and more. Let this whiskey open up in the glass. I spent more time with this bourbon than anything else in this edition of the SOP, and though it wasn’t my absolute favorite, it does seem to have the most depth and intrigue in it. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #22 – Another butterscotch bomb with some evergreen hints to it, maybe touches of sage. This is a solid, but mostly straightforward bourbon that wears its vanilla on its sleeve. Balanced with hints of cinnamon creeping in on the back end. An all-around winner, with some slightly unusual elements to it. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #23 – A good slug of spice on the nose… once you push through a bit of heat. Beyond, you’ll find an impressive spirit, filled with vanilla, some cocoa and coffee bean notes, and a soothing woodiness to back it up. Long and sweet on the finish, it’s a beautiful sipper that belies its rustic nose. A top pick of this series. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #24 – Hot, tastes like an overproof Bourbon. Not getting much character out of this, just some light grain characteristics. It’s like the wood just didn’t give up its essence in the service of this whiskey. C+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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. C (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #26 – Bigger, brasher, with a hefty alcoholic burn. Medicinal, to an extent, on the nose. Bit of menthol, which impacts its overall “whiskyness.” B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #27 – Cherries on the nose, some citrus. Sweet on the palate, with similar fruit. A fine, fruity Bourbon without a lot of nuance, but very easy drinking. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #28 – More wood character, and more dessert notes on the palate. That said, balance comes along quite nicely as it opens up in the glass, with a silky, long finish. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #29 – Big, “old Bourbon” character. Good balance of wood and spice notes, and a touch of citrus on the finish. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #30 – Good all-around Bourbon, classic structure, vanilla, marshmallows, toffee. Long finish, very smooth. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #31 – Slightly more tannin here, but the finish is a bit sweeter, too. Less nuance, but really easy-drinking. For sure it’s another winner. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #32 – Spicier, but not overdone, more wood oils here, a bit rough on the finish, and a touch bitter. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #33 – Another light style, sweet on the nose with a minty finish. Hints of chocolate, but not heavy enough to really bring much to the table. I’m not in love with the balance. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #34 – Bold up front, with a rich, chocolaty nose. It all follows through to the body, with a rounded, almost malty character that pushes through to a racy, brown sugar-infused finish studded with cloves, cinnamon, and cayenne. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #35 – Rich and creamy, with loads of caramel, coffee, dark chocolate. Wood comes along on the finish, and the whole affair offers a wonderful balance. A favorite — and a surprise; we guessed it was rye-based. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 17 growth rings/inch, 43 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #36 – Classic Bourbon style, the long finish is smooth but serious. Lush with big caramel and vanilla notes and creamy in the mouth. A little apple pie on the finish. One of the best on the block. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 17 growth rings/inch, 55 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #37 – Hot heat, fire and brimstone. No fruit left in this, just charred wood and embers. Bad barrel? C- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #38 – Spicy and fun, lots of cinnamon and baking spices, with a gingerbread finish. Woody but well integrated. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 16 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #39 – Gentle nose, heavier on lumberyard notes than anything else. There’s some cola amidst the vanilla caramel notes and a touch of citrus oil on the very back end, but otherwise this bourbon comes off with a bit of a thud. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 18 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #40 – Good all-around balance here: Sweet nougat character plus spicy notes, but the finish veers toward the spice. The body’s a touch on the thin side. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top 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 #43 – Clear orange character on the nose, with woody, smoky overtones. On the body, it’s not 100% harmonious, the fruit and wood elements doing a bit of battle on the palate. But with a little time in the glass, things settle down and it develops some spicy, dark chocolate notes that give it a curious uniqueness. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 21 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #44 – Dessert time! Marshmallows and light nuts on the nose. The body is all silky caramel and nougat, until some wood-driven astringency arrives on the finish. Slow start, but it builds to a delightful middle and an agreeable, balanced end. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #45 – Indistinct nose, but a little salty and sweaty. Some chocolate note emerges after a time, giving the overall spirit a salted caramel/candy bar character to it. Overall the body is modest to restrained, and the finish is short and fleeting. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top 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 #47 – Ample wood on the nose, muscling out some of the sweeter notes you get on the palate: milk chocolate, caramel, some spice on the finish. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #48 – A big, woody bourbon, almost overpowering on the nose. The body is gentler, offering soothing lemon tea and applesauce notes. Kind of a weird combination of experiences. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #49 – Burly, tastes like it has lots of rye (wrong!). Very grassy, but again a touch of mint. Balanced, complex. Plenty of vanilla to calm things down, with a lasting and warming finish. Curious coffee character. Favorite of the batch. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #50 – Similar on the nose to #26 — some mint, some hospital notes — touches of red pepper give it a bit of exoticism. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #51 – Cherry up front on the nose, with strong brewed tea notes — an interesting combination. The body alas doesn’t hit on all fronts, some of the more traditional Bourbon elements — vanilla and spice — pushed away by some more astringent notes in the finish. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #52 – A racier expression on the nose, with peppery notes and some cereal character behind that, but it settles into a creamy caramel character as the body takes hold. Quite a pleasure, with two faces to consider. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 18 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #53 – Burly and woody, with a big slug of licorice and (very) dark chocolate on the back end. The finish speaks of coffee bean and burnt almonds. Almost feels scorched, even overcooked. C+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #54 – Big wood up front, big wood in the middle, big wood at the end. The sweeter core emerges with time, in contrast with the largely shut-down #53, but the overall experience is a bit astringent, with just touches of dried fruit and some spice on the finish. B- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, 17 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #55 – Slightly skunky, almost muddy on the nose. The body’s a bigger success — with caramel and chocolate notes galore — offering a rich and almost dessert-like experience. Hard to connect that to the weird nose, though. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #56 – An odd finish mars this Bourbon. Terribly ard to place, it tastes a bit like coconut, banana, and rubber. Intriguing due to its tropical uniqueness, it comes across like a “world whiskey” instead of Bourbon — and something wholly unlike any of the other whiskeys in this collection… for better or for worse. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #58 – I like the balance. It’s bold without being brash. Lots of traditional Bourbon notes — vanilla and caramel, touched with cinnamon. Even a little chocolate on the finish. Arguably better than #18. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 17 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #59 – Not a whole lot of flavor left in this, though the wood character dominates what’s left in the bottle. Drying finish without much love in it. This is an off barrel. C (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 18 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #60 – Very woody on the nose, but the body brings up cinnamon and baking spices. It’s still a little hot and unbalanced but the “frontier style” whiskey is fun to drink. Lots of vanilla on the finish. A contender. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, 18 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #61 – Harder edged, with more citrus character — maybe a touch of orange peel. Tougher on the finish, but still a credible Bourbon. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #62 – Whole lot of menthol on the nose, some fuel oil. A bit rubbery on the finish. C- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #63 – Big and spicy, and frontier style whiskey at heart. Vanilla is the dominant character, which rounds out the finish. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #64 – Hospital notes on the nose again, band-aids and astringent finish. Not quite as severe as 62, but still off. Like it hasn’t properly aged. C (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, tight grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #65 – Skunky with sawdust notes on the nose, perhaps indicating a flaw with the barrel. The palate isn’t really off, though, offering a traditional (yet woodsy) vanilla character. C- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #66 – Blazing with heat and big wood character, it’s hard to catch much nuance on the nose. The body however reveals some surprises: Spicy rye character at its core, with touches of baking spices blended with red pepper. Big and bold, it’s loaded with lumberyard notes that really hang on. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #67 – A bit astringent, big sweet caramel character. Not much beyond first impressions. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 12 growth rings/inch, 33 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #68 – Super woody, but shows its charms as you drink it. Some vanilla and spice on the finish. Nothing out of the ordinary. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 12 growth rings/inch, 44 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #69 – Overripe bananas and vegetal notes, a little saccharine. Has something of an Irish whiskey feel to it. The finish is off, lean and unbalanced. C (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #70 – Lots of grain influence on this one. Tastes young, but not overly brash. Chewy and rustic.  B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #71 – A little raw on the nose, this whiskey seems like it will be a fire bomb on the palate, but that’s not the case for the most part. Caramel, cinnamon, and red hots candies are all in the mix, and working well together. The finish is a bit hot, with some rougher granary notes dominating. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 13 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #72 – Caramel apples here, bit of bite on the finish, but otherwise relatively unremarkable. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #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 #75 – The nose brings out notes of tobacco, lumberyard, and slight hospital notes. The body is much softer and sweeter, with silky caramel, some citrus peel, and fresh cinnamon character. Hot on the tongue and fiery on the finish, which tends to dull any nuance here. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #76 – Racy with both baking spices and more savory ones — think red pepper, thyme, sage, and pine needles. Lots going on here that’s unusual for bourbon, but it’s not a whiskey without some charms — so Old World in its austerity, herbaciousness, and restraint. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #77 – Heavy on cherry notes, this is a fruitier Bourbon with plenty of charm. The fresh fruit character is pretty and almost intense, finishing sweet so that it almost comes across like a strawberry ice cream or sorbet. Quite pleasant, if not wholly nuanced. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 13 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top 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 #79 – Racy, with notes of fresh mint on the nose. Apple-focused on the front of the palate, with smooth caramel coming along on the finish. Lots to like, but still finding its balance. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #80 – Mellow, salted caramels on the nose. Really lush and dessert-like, it’s got a bittersweet chocolate edge to the finish that makes it a lovely after-dinner sipper. A (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #81 – Tea leaf is huge here, imparting a massive brewed tea character. Feels like a wheated Bourbon (it’s not), easygoing but without a lot of complexity. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #82 – Lots of spice, on the nose at least. Interesting character, but sweeter and with ample spice. Lots of wood. Fun. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #83 – Hard to parse on the nose, the aromas are closed off but heaviest on basic wood notes. The body is on the simple side — sweet, melted caramels, a touch of raisin. Completely agreeable. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #84 – Engaging from the start, a little minty, with a little butterscotch character to it. Lovely and dessert-like on the palate, with an echo of that mint on the finish. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #85 – A straightforward, woodsy expression of bourbon, offering notes of clove, spearmint, and flamed orange peel. The lumberyard notes are the main focus, however, lending a certain austerity to this bottling. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #86 – Nicely balanced, firing on all cylinders. Vanilla, baking spices, some orange notes, and delicate wood oil all come together in a cohesive, harmonious whole. This drinks how I’d like my “everyday bourbon” to taste — not exactly complex, but refreshing and full of flavor. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #87 – Big nose, offering menthol character with a lot of heat… and a touch of chocolate. The body is surprisingly rich and creamy, with sultry cinnamon and coffee bean notes, and a kind of cafe au lait finish. Surprising and unusual, with its powerful nose and exotic body. I like it quite a bit. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #88 – Sweet and traditional, but with a hard edge to it, a kind of bitter finish that mars a promising start. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #90 – Very woody, tannic. Dry and a little tough. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #91 – Not much of a nose on this, but the body features tons of vanilla. Beyond that, not a ton of character, but those in search of a “smooth” Bourbon will enjoy this. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #92 – Very woody nose, with a fresh-cut lumber character. On the palate, a bit racy, with touches of licorice and a bit of tannic burn. Lots going on in the lumberyard department. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #93 – Hard and tough, spicy and herbal, with a rocky finish. The finale is lasting and grows more and more tannic as it goes on. Out of balance. B- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #94 – Hot on the palate, with a big spicy kick, but it mellows out and finishes with a smooth, dessert-like caramel silkiness. Coming together, but imperfect. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #95 – Similarly burly to #93, but slightly softer. Unlike its kid sister, it eases up on the finish, leaving you with sweetness instead of throat-choking tannin — amazing what a slightly longer char can do. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location A)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #96 – Very woody up front, and astringent on the back of the palate. Develops licorice notes, black cherry, and a nicely sweet finish. Like #94, it’s got two faces, and the second face is the better one. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #97 – Lots going on here. A bit of a mess, though. Smoky, with heavy wood overtones. Not a favorite. C+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #98 – Indistinct, alcohol-redolent nose, but the body is bursting with fruit. Orange and cherry notes play with dark brown sugar tones, and some cinnamon red hots on the finish. A fine whiskey; too bad the nose isn’t there to finish the job. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #99 – Sweeter but not terribly nuanced, and not a lot of secondary character. Good, creamy body. Not a whole lot to it but an easy drinker. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 12 growth rings/inch, 35 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #100 – Another easy whiskey, with a little vanilla and round mouthfeel, but not a lot of character. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 12 growth rings/inch, 43 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #101 – Lots of raw alcohol notes, a hot burner. Settles down with time, revealing ample wood character, but the finish is still to fiery for easy drinking. C+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 13 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #102 – Woody, but with some spice to it. Similar to 101 but with a bit more sweetness and a smoother finish. Astringency on the finish dulls its impact. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 13 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #103 – A fireside whiskey, almost smoky at times. The palate’s a little thin, but it does offer some red fruit and curious berry notes to spice up the vanilla and lumberyard notes on the body. Particularly fruity on the finish. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 13 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #104 – Smooth, quite sweet. Lots of caramel on this one, with a distinct vanilla kick. One for the sweet tooths, but not a lot of nuance. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #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 #107 – Ample wood, but just on this side of being too hoary for easy drinkin’. This whiskey develops some curious notes — licorice, dark cherries, chocolate — but wood remains the most dominant component. Very good, but not the wild curiosity of #109… A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #108 – Intriguing on the nose, this whiskey strongly exudes cherry cola notes, with underpinnings of oak. The body is moderate and a bit more scattered. The cherry’s not here, but the cola notes are big, along with some tea leaf, heavy charred wood, licorice, cardamom, and a touch of cloves. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #109 – A solid, well-balanced, yet unexpected spirit. The nose is both spicy and woody, with some really unusual overtones of racy incense. The body is silky sweet and lush, balanced with notes of raisins, mincemeat, sugar, wood, and some intriguing savory notes. This is a unique bourbon not just for the Single Oak Project, but for bourbons altogether. You may not like it as much as me, but it’s so much fun to explore you’d be a fool to pass it up. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top 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 #111 – Moderate nose, with a cocoa powder and charred wood character. On the body, fairly plain, with heavy wood notes and a lingering, almost bitter lumberyard finish. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #112 – Restrained nose, with a focus on wood. The body’s got classic Bourbon character: vanilla, caramel, some restrained lumberyard character. Lingering mint notes on the finish. Fine, but fairly par for a whiskey of this age. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #113 – I’m not in love with the wood-heavy nose but the body is pretty unique. Peaches and vanilla give it a dessert-like (cobbler?) finish that, unfortunately, is at odds with the aroma. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #114 – Ample wood, some apple, some orange… but too much heat to make it all work. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 13 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #115 – Heavy wood on the nose, but the sweetness on the body offers respite, and balance. This is one of this project’s few whiskeys with a clear grain-and-popcorn character, indicating it could stand a few more years in barrel… maybe more. Curious raspberry tea notes on the finish add fun. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #116 – Chewy with cereal, but layered with menthol notes. Rounded on the palate, it’s got fruitcake and nutty elements that fade with the arrival of a more grain alcohol character on the back end. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 12 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #117 – Cinnamon-sugar hits up front, leading to a buttery body that offers some toasty oak notes. The sweet-meets-wood combo is appealing, but a little undercooked. Could use another year in barrel. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #118 – Interesting, dark cocoa powder on the nose. The body adds in some vanilla and wood notes, but also a fair amount of heat. The lumberyard notes grow  and break out a bit of Middle Eastern spice on the back end. A little odd, but worthwhile. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, 14 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #119 – Traditional nose, a bit dusty. Lemon peel/lemongrass character comes along on the body, but otherwise it’s a Bourbon that exudes wood over just about everything else. Not a standout here. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #120 – Distinct mint notes are prominent in this one, another “big” and moderately woody whiskey that carries with it a surprisingly sweet finish. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #122 – Bigger vanilla, pretty straightforward… until black pepper comes along at the end. Not entirely complex, but definitively worthwhile. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #123 – Overwhelming wood on the nose, with touches of sweetness. The body’s not entirely balanced, tending tannic as it finishes. Some vanilla sweetness comes along late in the game, but too late. B- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #124 – Hugely fruity, apples heavy here, with touches of cinnamon. Apple pie? It’s a little too sweet, but I’d see it as a real go-to as a blending Bourbon. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, 12 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #125 – Another huge whiskey, and one a bit lacking in secondary character. Although I know it’s got the same age on it as the rest, it feels young and a little undercooked. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #126 – Chewy but with a very light body. Overall a classical structure that reveals caramel and brown sugar in the end, but not a lot of depth. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #127 – Unsurprising, a straightforward Bourbon with a straightforward caramel character. Short finish. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #128 – Lots of heat on this one, fading in the end and leaving behind a short finish. Not a lot of flavor at any point along the way, though. Harmless. C (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, average grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #129 – Very sweet up front, but that fades quickly. Again, lots of wood on the nose. B- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #130 – Unusual notes of lemon and wood here — think Pledge, but in a way you might drink — at least on the nose. The body is more indistinct in its citrus focus, drinking hot while offering ample notes of wood oil and cloves on the back end. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #131 – Really woody, and far out of balance. Lots of alcohol on this one, with a tough, super woody finish. C (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 8 growth rings/inch, 42 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #132 – Smooth and delightful, with caramel, vanilla, and spice. Really nice body. Perhaps the favorite of the night. If this is from the top part of the tree that #131’s barrel is from, they’re night and day. A (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 8 growth rings/inch, 65 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #133 – Very woody, particularly on the nose. Hot with burning coals but tempered with some nougat and marshmallow notes. Give it a chance. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #134 – Not bad. Good sweetness level, with decent vanilla and caramel, but tough on the back end. B  (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #135 – More citrus here than most of the other expressions in this round, with a bit of butterscotch to back it up. The finish is warming, and quite drying at times. B (rye, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #136 – The mild nose is misleading: The whiskey beneath the surface is racy and literally overflowing with spiciness and a lush, wood kick. Fans of big rye whiskeys are going to enjoy this one, but traditionalists may find it too overpowering. A- (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #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 #139 – Classic but hot on the nose, with big notes of vanilla and hefty lumberyard character. Similar on the palate, but it’s those wood elements that begin to overwhelmingly dominate as the whiskey aerates. Finishes very dry, almost dusty. C+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #140 – Traditional: vanilla, caramel, wood. This could be any rack bourbon, but it’s classy and refined — a darker, woodier, coal-fired, more cigars-in-the-back-room bourbon than most of the comparably fruity expressions you get in the SOP. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #141 – Notes of petrol and gas fires and burnt wood up front, particularly on the nose, leading this whiskey into a more savory funnel than the others in the Project. More sweetness develops on the body — a brown sugar and caramel character — which creates balance with the more savory, and somewhat jarring, early encounter. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top 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 #143 – The nose gives off few clues about this one, a barnburner on the tongue that exudes flaming orange peel, old sherry, and more brutish, raw alcohol character. Not my favorite. C+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #144 – Restrained nose, with a focus on wood. The body’s got classic Bourbon character: vanilla, caramel, some restrained lumberyard character. Lingering mint notes on the finish. Fine, but fairly par for a whiskey of this age. B+ (rye, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #145 – Apricots and sherry on the nose, almost rum-like. Quite a complicated little surprise. The body is a little more traditional, with chewy vanilla caramels taking the lead. My #2 for the night. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #146 – Spicier, with some cloves and cinnamon. A little toffee and nuttiness as it goes down and matures in the glass. Not at all bad. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #147 – Tightly wound. This is at first a tougher bourbon, bound up with oak staves and sawdust. But the finish comes along with a curious cookie character — pecan sandies, anyone? — that adds nuance and a touch of intrigue. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #148 – Oaky, and a bit racy. Plenty of red pepper here but the dusty, vanilla-tinged caramel that makes up the core makes it both balanced enough and worthwhile on its merits. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #149 – Beautiful caramel sauce up front, just touched with the slightest hint of orange peel. The finish is strong but balanced between sweeter chocolate/vanilla/caramel notes and the density of toasty oak on the back end. Easily the best bourbon in this edition, and one of the best in the whole series. A (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #150 – Creme brulee notes up front, then modest orange fruit and some nuttiness — peanut butter, even — on the back end. There’s a nice combination of flavors going on here, but it could use a bit more body to prop up the sweetness. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #151 – Pure wood on the nose, with some cinnamon lacing, perhaps. The body is sweet at first, giving way to a hefty wood character that builds and builds to a slightly astringent finish. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #152 – A smooth operator. Classic vanilla/caramel body, very mild. A touch of menthol in the finish, but it’s fleeting, a bit like an Andes mint after a creme caramel dessert. A- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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 #154 – Tons of heat on the nose… tough to push past all that to get to what is a fruity and amply sweet Bourbon without being overdone. A bit woody on the finish, which is surprisingly lasting. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #155 – Medicinal, astringent on the nose. And yet, watery and just generally off in a couple of ways. This barrel’s not a great one, though it does settle down after some time in the glass. C- (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #156 – Heavy wood on the nose. Better than #155 but with more than a few similarities. Again, it settles down over time but the finish remains on the rough side. C+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #157 – Not much to it, just a moderate whiskey with a medium body, mild finish. Caramel and wood notes, but mild. B (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #158 – Big toffee sweetness on the front of the palate, almost cotton candy like, a real departure vs. some of these more reserved and withdrawn spirits. A sugar bomb, almost a bit much. B+ (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #159 – Finally, a Bourbon that gets me going. Savory and sweet working together, with caramel and vanilla very strong, but balanced by a modest woodiness. Just about everything I want in a glass from a young whiskey. A (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #160 – Finally a real thoroughbred. This one has it all, up-front sweetness, depth of flavor, a touch of spice, and lush and lacy caramel notes throughout. Touches of citrus raise the game. Best of the lot. A (rye, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #161 – Smells good, though heavy on wood. The body doesn’t take that anywhere, though. Lots of astringency on the finish. C+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #162 – Mild menthol on the nose leads in to a very easygoing palate. The body on this one is liquid caramel from front to back, spiked with cloves. Strangely, a bit of barnyard character emerges on the nose after some time in the glass, dulling what is otherwise a pleasant, anywhiskey experience. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #163 – Caramel apple character, with bit of vanilla and a somewhat thin body. Really nice flavor, but the body lacks weight. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 9 growth rings/inch, 60 staves/barrel, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #164 – Amazing bite on this, astringent. A little vanilla and caramel on the palate, but the body is thin and unmemorable. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, wood ricks, #4 char, 9 growth rings/inch, 38 staves/barrel, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #165 – Far more balanced than most of the crowd here. Again, plenty of wood but tempered with some chocolate and cinnamon. Decent finish. B+ (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #166 – Hot. Grains, spice, a big whiskey. Not entirely put together well, with a red pepper and wood char finish. Weird collection of flavors, all out of balance. C  (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 growth rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #167 – Great balance here, love the intense caramel and vanilla notes and just a hint of cinnamon to give it depth. Incredibly rich, this is probably my favorite whiskey in this batch. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #168 – Plenty of lumber at first, but a unique element of hazelnuts emerges if you give this whiskey some time, a bit of Nutella character that lingers for quite awhile before some cayenne pepper notes kick back up on the back end. A little weird, but worth sampling for its uniqueness alone. A- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #4 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. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #3 char, top 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 #171 – The indistinct nose offers vague cherry syrup notes alongside lots of raw alcohol character. The body is a bit gentler, but its charms are fleeting. Lots of tobacco smoke and leather here, with touches of motor oil creeping up on you on the astringent finish. C (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #172 – Not an incredible level of character here. The nose is filled more with raw alcohol than anything else, the body is a fiery experience that finishes with smoke and brimstone. Not the Project’s best. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #173 – Initially racy, this spicebox of a whiskey settles into a nice little groove, offering well-rounded tones of applesauce, citrus oil, cinnamon, and mellow wood notes, particularly on the finish. This is a whiskey that invites exploration and revisiting, a lush spirit that balances sweet and savory with aplomb. A striking difference to #171. A (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top 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)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #175 – A solid effort, but a little indistinct. The nose and flavors are both muted, with mild vanilla, oaky wood, and applesauce notes, but all dialed way back. B (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #176 – Funky, almost medicinal on the nose. The body’s quite different, a mix of vanilla up front and brewed tea on the back end. Lots going on, but the nose is ultimately a bit off-putting. B- (wheat, 125 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #177 – Extremely mild nose, but lots of spice in the body. Woody, overall has a good balance. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wood ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #178 – I was sure this was rye (wrong!), good spice, with some chocolate and cinnamon. Very contentious at our tasting panel — the lasting woodiness you either love or hate. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #179 – Classically structured. Deep wood impregnated with vanilla on both the nose and the palate. The body is velvety, the finish long and chocolaty. Interesting notes of marshmallow and licorice here and there. Lots to explore. An easy winner for this installment — and the series as a whole. A (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #180 – A simpler whiskey, without a lot of classic bourbon character to it. Here I get more simple lumberyard notes, some cereal, and mixed fruit, but it’s missing that vanilla slug, particularly on the rustic back end. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #181 – Baking spices and pretty butterscotch up front leads to a silky sweet body with a lightly drying finish. Notes of red pepper emerge if you give it a little time in glass, giving this whiskey a surprising complexity. Nearly as enjoyable as #149, but with its own sense of style. A (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #182 – Butterscotch notes are clear here, much like #181, but in this expression the sweetness grabs hold and sticks with the whiskey to the end. The finish is almost candylike, without the spicy nuance. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, 9 rings/inch, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #183 – Ripe banana meets wood on the nose. On the tongue: Incredibly sweet, which makes it incredibly drinkable, but almost puts it on par with a Cognac over a traditional Bourbon. Would love to see a touch more austerity from this, but could easily sip on it for days. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 6 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #184 – Heavy apple character here, moderate wood influence. The balance is imperfect, though, with a somewhat hard edge to the finish. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom 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)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #186 – Extremely sweet, almost cloying. Not a lot of character due to the overwhelming amount of sugar in the glass. I’d use it as a mixer. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 8 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #187 – Again that hospital character comes on strong, backed by ample wood character. On the body: Woody, lightly tannic. Not my favorite. C+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, top half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #188 – Woody and burly with a nicely sweet finish. Lots of spice — red pepper and cinnamon, some cloves. Good balance in the end. B+ (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, 10 growth rings/inch, wooden ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #189 – Spicier, with fun caramel apple, banana, and character. I like this a lot. The finish makes me think of a nut-infused banana split. A (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #190 – Also very good, but with a bit of heavy alcoholic vapor to it. Racy, with dark molasses, dark chocolate to it. Missing something, but not a bad whiskey on the whole. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #3 char, bottom half of tree)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #191 – Very similar to 189, maybe a touch harder on the finish. Lovely, though. A- (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, top half of tree, harvest location B)

Buffalo Trace Distillery Single Oak Project Barrel #192 – Similar notes to #190, with more of a spicy, chewy character to it. Some greenness on the finish, too, and the dark cocoa notes don’t entirely mesh. B (wheat, 105 entry proof, level 12 seasoning, coarse grain, concrete ricks, #4 char, bottom half of tree)

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2 Responses

  1. bill January 8, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    Nice article

  2. Melissa Warden July 2, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    I have to chime in here – great idea, but the data is pretty worthless without replication. One barrel per condition is not going to tell you much. Should have cut down on the number of variables and repeated each combination at least 4-5 times.

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