The year was 1991. Think about that for a moment. The gulf war began, Comedy Central launched, Mike Tyson was arrested, the Cold War ends, I graduated from the 4th grade, and several dozen oak barrels were filled up with unaged Old Charter whiskey.
Not only this, but it was also the year that I started to change my mind about girls. They were no longer icky cootie-bombs, but rather quite pleasant specimens to be around. In fact, I read the entire series of Babysitter Club books to try and impress a few young ladies with my knowledge of Kristy, Stacey and other fictional teenagers. Thus began many (mostly fruitless) years of going to great lengths to attract the attention of the fairer sex.
Fast forward 20 years. Much has happened, but nothing so imperative as the impending union of me and a real, live woman. That’s right, it was time to settle down and get married. After a year long engagement and several months of planning, the day had arrived to fly off to Belize for a jungle wedding extravaganza.
Hours before stepping on the plane, however, a thought crossed my mind. It occurred to me that there is no better way to celebrate the shedding of my wonder years than with a few rounds of some extra special still-juice, but also that Belize would have a paltry whiskey selection.
This is when the tiny bottle of 2011 Buffalo Trace Experimental Edition: 1991 Barrels hopped into my suitcase. Three days later it was cracked open poolside around 10pm – mere hours before the impending nuptials. A select group of gentlemen and I poured ourselves modest amounts of the 19 year, and bid farewell to the bachelor of Bourbon Basement.
It was delicious.
I don’t know much of the history of these bottles other than they come from some Old Charter barrels that survived a fire or something. Here’s the info from the label:
Experiment: 1991 Barrels, Rediscovered
Total Production: 8 Barrels
Date Distilled: 10-28-1991
Date Barreled: 10-29-1991
Mash Type: Sour
Still Proof: Unknown, Entry Proof: Unknown
Wharehouse / Floor: C/6, Q/6, I/4, I/6
Rick/Row/Slot: 31/1/1, 38/1/1, 4/1/1, 44/1/1
Barrel Type: White Oak
Maker: Independent Stave
Age at Bottling: 19 yrs, 1 mos
Bottle Proof: 45% Alc/Vol (90 Proof)
Master Distiller Commentary: The warm and spicy aroma is overtaken by a robust black walnut character on the palate that finishes as thick candied fruit. The flavor lasts an eternity.
I agree with all of the master distiller’s commentary aside from the flavor lasting forever. This bourbon was uncharacteristically nutty – moreso than any other bourbon I’ve tasted so far. Black walnut is spot on. The dram went down smoothly, but there was some spice and tingle over the tongue. The finish was fairly quick, however. Certainly not an eternity (which is now represented by a metal ring around my finger).
If you happen upon the experimental collection, I would recommend purchasing at least one of the three varieties available (1989, 1991, and 1993 barrels). If not for the taste, then for a nice addition to your collection to save for a special occasion.