Not merely satisfied with consumer acceptance of their current portfolio, the powers-that-be at Buffalo Trace wanted to try something a little different.
Taking a page from the wine industry, they had a corn crop planted on a piece of land acquired by the company with an eye toward creating an estate product: i.e., a small-batch bourbon made with ingredients entirely sourced from their own grounds.
Now, according to the Franklin, KY, company, that initial corn from that planting has been used to make a new estate bourbon that recently was put into aging barrels.
The distillery says the new bourbon was distilled from a non-GMO heirloom corn strain that dates to 1876, around the time the legendary distiller E.H. Taylor was leaving his mark at Buffalo Trace. The strain, it says, “originated from a White Mastodon variety and, through selection techniques in isolation, it became Boone County White, after a farmer named James Riley coined the name.”
The crop had been monitored by master distiller Harlen Wheatley and his staff until last August, after which it was harvested and dried, then fermented and distilled at the end of May. The output was 117 barrels of the Boone County White Corn variety now aging for several years before being bottled and released.
Buffalo Trace also has just planted its second crop, a variety known as Japonica Striped Corn. It originally is from Japan, and dates to the 1890s.
The plan is for a different variety of corn to be planted each year so each estate bourbon will be a unique release.