Monday, September 7, 2009

Exam-o-Dram – Charter 101

This is a new offering from Buffalo Trace and looking at the bottle it states "Old Charter Distilling Company", which of course doesn't exist. It's a Buffalo Trace product pure and simple. Charter has been around for quite a few years, in fact, more than a few years. According to historical records, it appears that "Old Charter" was introduced in 1874. The current Charter 101 states on the front "Since 1874", that is without the word Old. Before I talk about what's inside, I'll mention that I like the design of this bottle which has been around for some time. I like the shape which has a scalloped crown and wheat stocks pressed into the sides of the bottle with white and gold old style lettering on the face. I have bottles of Old Charter in my bunker that consist of various Charter releases which include Old Charter Classic 90 (out of production), Old Charter Proprietors Reserve (out of production), Old Charter 7, 10, and 12 year old. There is a current release of Old Charter that is age stated at 8 years old.

Now to the bourbon itself and we'll start with the color which is a medium colored amber/orange hue that shows its got proof or age going for it. In this case, it's the proof at 101. Nosing this bourbon I pick up vanilla, which is a fairly common character in bourbon, dried fruit, a little mustiness which could be leather or tobacco quality. The mustiness is a quality found in a couple of Buffalo Trace offerings. The bourbon itself is not oily and the legs descend at a fairly rapid pace after swirling the glass and appears to be a little thin in consistency. On entry this bourbon packs some nice flavor exhibiting some sweetness and spice up front but then transforms into heat toward the mid palate which hides the flavor components found on entry. The finish contains a little bite at the end. I would be surprised if this bourbon is any older than 4 years as it appears to be on the young side. Overall, it's a nice bourbon that can be sipped neat but can also be used as a mixer without guilt. For the price of about $15 depending on your market, it's not a bad pour. For me, not a bourbon I would go to as a daily pour (which I drink neat on most occasions). But for some, this may be the ticket. I just wish this was a little older at this proof.


  1. I did a flight a few months back that included the OC10, Classic 90, OCPR & C101 and thought this fared pretty well and definitely fit right in with the flavor profile. It couldn't compete with the OC12 or OCPR13, but I thought it blew away the OC10. Although I agree that a little more age would be nice in the 101, the sweetness was dominant and full and it may have lost some of that . . . I find the OC10 to be pretty dry and dull and that's something I don;t think the 101 could be accused of.

  2. Since I can't find OC 10 any longer I comfort myself with this 101, which is a solid value as an everyday drinker.

  3. Rich - without seeing some pictures of the bottle, it would be hard to provide a valuation. A WAG would be $250. Could be more or less depending on condition.