Old Charter Oak French Oak is the latest release from Buffalo Trace Distillery as it continues to explore oak tree varietals. Late last year Buffalo Trace announced its Old Charter Oak series, a collection exploring the different taste profiles of barrels obtained from trees grown in different countries, climates and soil. The Old Charter Oak collection is designed to explore, honor, and celebrate the role of oak in making great whiskey. The oak trees used for this brand vary by country of origin, or species, or U.S. state. Some barrels are even made from century oaks, 100, 200, or 300 year old oak trees.
For the newest release, Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France in 2007, and filled them with its Mash #1, the same mashbill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and several other award-winning bourbons at the Distillery. The Old Charter Oak French Oak has now been bottled and will be available at retail in late June.
Tasting notes for the French Oak describe it as having a nose of vanilla with hints of apricot, cherry, and rose petal. The palate is a thick and creamy maple syrup, with the oak flavor coming through. A long finish of chocolate and toasted oak round it out.
This is the second release in the Old Charter Oak Collection. The first release, Mongolian Oak, was released late last year. All the Old Charter Oak Bourbon series will be released over time, with a third release scheduled for later this year. Subsequent releases are planned a few times each year, indefinitely. “We’re excited to release our second bourbon in this ground breaking series. As of now, we have bourbon aging for the Old Charter Oak collection scheduled for release now through 2030, but we’ll keep producing more each year for more new whiskeys beyond that,” said Kris Comstock, senior marketing director.
By Federal standards, bourbon is required to be aged in a new, charred oak container. But there is no specification it must be American white oak, it’s just that nearly all bourbons made today are aged in white oak.
Old Charter is a brand that has always celebrated the central role that oak plays in making great whiskey, given its namesake. The brand dates back to 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze created the bourbon, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree, a famous symbol of American independence and free spirit, which grew in Connecticut in the 12th or 13th century until it fell in a storm in 1856.
Old Charter changed owners a few times, until it was purchased by Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1999. The existing Old Charter Bourbon is still produced by parent company Sazerac and there are no plans to discontinue it. The Old Charter Oak series is an upscale brand extension, much like Buffalo Trace has done with its E. H. Taylor, Jr, line.
The suggested retail pricing for the French Oak is $69.99, but the different oak varieties released over the years will have different price points, all in a similar range. Like the Mongolian Oak release, the French Oak supplies will be limited. Packaging for the French Oak will be similar to the Mongolian Oak, with an upscale look consisting of a glass bottle with a cork finish. Each bottle will have an oak medallion on the front depicting the Charter Oak tree.
The Old Charter Oak French Oak is 92 proof. More information can be found about the Old Charter Oak series www.oldcharteroak.com