If you were a distiller with plenty of funding and an established, revenue-generating line of legendary industry-leading products, what would you do to keep things fresh and interesting? You wouldn’t want to tinker with your award winners, but you would want push the envelope. You’d want to try new things. You’d want to quench your innovative desires and cut loose now and again with something….experimental.
Sometimes I imagine the fine folks at Buffalo Trace’s experimental division looking something like a combination of a distillery and a scene out of the 1930’s era mad scientist movie. All manner of grains sit scattered around a laboratory in open barrels. Tanks brimming with water sampled from different karst lines from all over the region, ready to flow into the still. Blue flames dancing under copper backlight the room, which is filled with the heavenly scents of mash and yeast roiling, churning, burping with life. The Experimental Distiller, our Mad Scientist, scribbling settings into a notebook, scrawling calculations on a chalkboard, dramatically flipping massive double pole knife switches with exposed connections, electricity climbing and pulsing up a high voltage Jacob’s Ladder, while the Tesla coil snaps and pops in the background. Water rushes into the still as the heat builds in the room. The first drops of high-test White Dog come dripping into a copper cup. He tastes them and yells, “It’s Alive! It’s Alive!”
Obviously it’s not all that, but one thing I’m certain of is the people in charge of the Experimental Collection are having fun, if nothing else!
This morning I got a press release from Buffalo Trace regarding the newest release from their experimental collection. The “Organic Six Grain”. Now just based on the description of the mashbill, six grains containing the typical corn and wheat, in addition to rice and brown rice, and a delicious combination of buckwheat and sorghum (can you say pancakes?!?), I thought this sounded pretty delicious. The grains were cooked up and distilled at 130 proof on BT’s micro-distilling rig, and funneled into #4 char barrels, which sat for 7 years in Warehouse H. They bottled it up at 90 proof. Buffalo Trace says that since the mashbill varies from their regular products so much, they opted to call it whiskey rather than bourbon.
The whole process, from the ingredients through the distillation were certified “organic”. Initial tasting notes hint at being “very complex”.
Um, Buckwheat and Sorghum? Yes please!
I can’t wait to try this release. It’s due out later this month!