Last fall our group did our barrel pick at Buffalo Trace selecting two barrels of Old Weller Antique. These of course were bottled as single barrels and aged at just over 8 years. They are both fantastic and are my favorites (not including most older SW versions) of this particular label. I provided tasting notes on both of these here.
The process Buffalo Trace typically goes through when conducting a barrel tasting is they pull samples at barrel strength and then provide samples cut to 50 proof. They say it's so you can pick out the nuances. Here's what I don't understand. Why wouldn't they simply provide samples of the bottling proof......in this case, 107? Well, in an effort to get to ground truth as to what the bourbon will taste like once bottled, a member of our group at last Fall's tasting brought along a graduated cylinder. The BT rep said that was a first for him as he had never seen a group come in and cut their own whiskey. Not to say it hasn't been done, but we made a point of doing it right then and there.
Fast forward to this past April and we find ourselves at Buffalo Trace once again. As we did the first time, we provided reference samples to the BT lab in advance to use when selecting barrels that matched the flavor profile we were seeking. We also requested they not provide any samples at barrel strength or cut to 50 proof but to simply provide samples at 107 proof which they accommodated.
The group tasted through 12 barrel samples of Old Weller Antique. Each participant took tasting notes and scored each selection. At the end, the results were collected and tallied up. Because of the size of our group, we actually conducted two tastings so while one group was tasting barrels, the other half of the group was going on the distillery tour.
We ended up picking three barrels but one in particular really stood out and was the hands down favorite of the majority of tasters. One member, ticked that his personal selection wasn't picked by the group ended up purchasing a barrel for himself......now that's hard core.
We had a great visit and once again, BT really did a great job in the barrel selections as we walked away with another allocation of great bourbon. Now I have to wait patiently while it makes its way through distribution.