Our August tasting was another first for the Waterford Whiskey Society. Ian Hi-Spirits Doogue from the Hi-Spirits presented to us six wonderful Bourbons to expand our whiskey tasting horizons held in Davy Macs
Buffalo Trace is the most awarded distillery in the world and with over 200 years of bourbon making along with a large experimental lab to explore endless possibilities, the results are truly worthy of a taste.
Ian introduced us to the highly regulated world of Bourbon making with the 5 rules –
1. Must have 51% corn in the mash
2. Must use virgin charred oak barrels
3. Must be aged for a minimum of 2 years
4. No additional flavouring or colouring can be added at any time
5. Must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
Ian took us through the very interesting history of the Buffalo Trace Distillery from its start in 1771 by Lee Brothers to it being purchased in 1992 by Sezerac Family and its renaming as the Buffalo Distillery in 1999. He also explained that due to the very hot summers and the very cold winters of Kentucky along with the predominant use of corn, it produces a different type of whiskey to that of Ireland which is very evident upon tasting.
We started the tasting with Buffalo Trace, the flagship bourbon bottled at 40%. This is a spicy whiskey with an un expected depth of flavour for a young bourbon. Next, we moved onto the White Dog which is the new-make spirit of the Buffalo Trace range otherwise known as Moonshine! Here you really see the difference a predominantly corn bourbon makes to the sweetness of the distillate.
For our third whiskey we tasted Eagle Rare, a really tasty 10-year-old bourbon. This bourbon has a smooth creamy texture while maintaining the spicy, toffee, leather and oak notes that are present in Buffalo Trace but much more concentrated.
For a different note Ian then introduced us to a rye bourbon called Sazerac Rye, a complete change in taste to that of the others. This is the base to the famous Sazerac cocktail from the coffee houses of New Orleans.
Finally, our 5th and 6th tastings were truly a treat. Stagg Jr is a 10-year-old, 65% uncut and unfiltered bourbon that pack a real punch. The spiciness is combined with notes of cloves, dried fruits and a finish that really lingers. Finally ending on a high note, we tasted George T. Stagg which has been described as the daddy of all bourbons. This is a 15-year-old, 65% bourbon that has won many whiskey awards and deservedly so.
The clear favourite of the evening was the Stagg Jr with Eagle Rare coming in second. Ian very kindly raffled some sample bottles and other goodies and the evening was rounded off with Alan from Davy Macs pub feeding us all with delicious beef and chicken sliders. The craic was mighty and the bourbon a great hit.