Old whiskies aren’t cheap. For one thing, there’s literally less of it. At least one percent of maturing scotch is lost each year to evaporation (angel’s share), something distilleries bear in mind when deciding on a suggested retail price. What’s often overlooked is the time it takes to make a whisky before it’s distilled.
Our journey begins with a tiny acorn in an Appalachian forest that somehow doesn’t get eaten by an animal. Before long, this acorn becomes a tree, an American white oak. For 100 years, it evades wildfires, lightning strikes, and disease. Blue Jays nest in its leaves to avoid predators, and squirrels live in its hollows.
One day, our tree is felled, and taken to Robinson Stave in East Bernstadt, Kentucky. This is where most of the Buffalo Trace barrels are made. 100 years usually gets you a couple ASBs or American standard barrels. Once our tree becomes a barrel, its inner surface is set on fire until it resembles the skin of an alligator.
Our barrel is then transported to Frankfort, Kentucky, and introduced to its first bunkmate, 53 gallons of Buffalo Trace whiskey. For the next 8 years or so, their relationship will ebb and flow. They’ll be inseparable during the summer months, but as the temperature cools, so will their interest in one another. When it’s time for what’s inside our barrel to leave the nest and enter bottlehood, some of it will remain behind. Time to cross the Atlantic.
What was once an acorn is now an ex-bourbon barrel. In short order, a peated suitor from a windswept island in Scotland comes calling, and asks for our barrel’s hand. This second union will last for a little over a decade. 10 years of ups and downs until it’s time to find yet another dance partner.
Kilchoman 10 BC cask was matured in a single Buffalo Trace barrel, and bottled exclusively for British Columbia, Canada. Lovely depth. Nice mouthfeel. No burn despite its tender age and high proof. The bourbon notes compliment this whisky beautifully. This is the best Kilchoman I’ve ever had. A quality product, 118 years in the making.