This was a fascinating experiment investigating one of the primary ingredients in making bourbon, the trees used for constructing barrels. Trees that grow faster have coarser wood grains, while trees that grow slower produce more fine-grained wood. Two different barrels were constructed using these two different kinds of trees. Bourbon of the same mash bill was entered into these two different kinds of barrels and aged for nearly 15 years.
After more than 14 years of aging, the slow-growth of fine grain wood concentrated the sugars and flavors deep within in the oak and imparted extra doses of caramel and vanilla to this bourbon. Bourbon is rich and sweet with an almost syrupy character. It also has a nice balance of flavors and complexity.
After nearly 15 years in the barrel, this whiskey is dry with a balance of smokiness and wood with herbal qualities. The finish is quick and woody and it is slightly heavy with a powerful complexity.
In these two experiments, the effect of aging bourbons in two different barrels was examined. Bourbon was aged in new, charred American white oak barrels for two different lengths of time. Bourbon was then placed in new charred American oak barrels again, and aged for an additional eight years. Both whiskeys used the same mash bill, Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2.
These barrels were filled April 4, 1993 and bottled September 15, 2009. At 16 years and five months of age, the finished product has a deep, rich flavor that fully expresses the oak character. The re-barreling has taken it far beyond its 16 years. It has a very strong, powerful finish.
These barrels were filled November 18, 1997 and bottled September 16, 2009. At 11 years and ten months of age the finished product has a complex barrel flavor. It possesses a deep caramel color making it pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. It has a very robust start and finishes smooth.