Oak is strong. Earlier today (April 19), Buffalo Trace Distillery (BTD) introduced its new Spanish Oak Bourbon. It is the fifth release in its Old Charter Oak collection. Spanish Oak Bourbon follows previous releases of Mongolian Oak, Chinkapin Oak, Canadian Oak, and French Oak.
Among other requirements, to receive an official “bourbon” designation by the federal government, bourbon must be “aged in charred, new oak barrels.” While most distilleries use American White Oak, any type of oak is permissible. The Old Charter Oak series is BTD’s exploration into oak tress grown in different countries, climates, and soils.
- Spanish Oak Bourbon
- Distilled, Aged, Bottled: Buffalo Trace Distillery
- Proof: 92
- MSRP: $69.99 (750 mL)
Spanish Oak Bourbon
Harvested from the forests of northern Spain, the trees used in this year’s experiment were made into staves that were seasoned outdoors before becoming the barrels for Spanish Oak Bourbon. Long used for aging sherries, Spanish Oak imbues tasting notes of deep oak and dense caramel, followed by rich vanilla and an abundance of dark stone fruit. Finishing notes include toasted nuts and baking spice.
“The whiskey extracts from the charred oak barrel exciting elements like eugenol, vanillin and whiskey lactone,” said BTD’s master distiller Harlen Wheatley. “American Oak has higher proportions of vanillin and whiskey lactone. Resulting in bourbon with a softer, sweeter taste and notes of vanilla and caramel. Our Spanish Oak, on the other hand, has more eugenol. Meaning drier, spicier notes and flavors like clove are imparted onto the liquid. We specifically wanted to test Spanish Oak as part of this collection because of its connection to sherry, which is known to be a nuttier, fruitier spirit. We were curious how those flavors would impact the taste of whiskey, and we are very pleased with the result.”
Of course, packaging for the new expression will remain consistent with previous releases, consisting of a beautiful glass bottle with a cork finish. In addition, each bottle has an oak medallion on the front depicting the Charter Oak tree. As previously mentioned, Spanish Oak is now available in select markets in the United States.