Old Charter Oak French Oak is the latest release from Buffalo Trace Distillery, as the company continues to explore different and unique oak tree varietals.
Buffalo Trace obtained a small number of barrels from France in 2007, and filled them with its Mash #1, the same mash bill used to make Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare and several other bourbons at the distillery. The Old Charter Oak French Oak has now been bottled, and will hit retail shelves 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, the company reports. A finish of chocolate and toasted oak round it out.
This is the second release in the Old Charter Oak Collection. The first expression, Mongolian Oak, was released late last year. All the Old Charter Oak Bourbon series will release over time, with a third release scheduled for later this year. Subsequent releases are planned a few times each year, indefinitely.
The suggested retail pricing for the French Oak is $69.99 per 750-ml. bottle, but the different oak varieties released over the years will have different price points, all in a similar range.
The Old Charter Oak French Oak is 92 proof.
“We’re excited to release our second bourbon in this ground breaking series,” says Kris Comstock, senior marketing director. “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.”
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 dates back to 1874, when Adam and Ben Chapeze created the bourbon, naming it in honor of the Charter Oak tree — a symbol of American independence — 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.
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.