The latest project from the Sazerac Company uses resources that would be almost impossible to come by if they didn't own them already. Corazón, one of their tequila brands, acquired bourbon and rye barrels from some of the Sazerac Company's star products to experiment with: barrels from George T. Stagg, Sazerac Rye, Old Rip Van Winkle, and Buffalo Trace bourbon. The results, known as Expresiones del Corazón, are intriguing.
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While many distilleries conduct their own test runs under wraps, Buffalo Trace has opened their doors and allowed us to peek behind the veil. This year's release features two pretty old bourbons, dubbed the #7 Heavy Char Barrel Bourbon, and the Hot Box Toasted Barrel Bourbon. We gave 'em both a try.
Even something so seemingly mundane as warehouse placement can affect the flavor and character of a whiskey, whether that's bourbon, Scotch, or Irish. For that matter, warehousing can affect other aged spirits, as well—rum, brandy, tequila, etc. So this is just one concrete (pardon the pun) example of why blending is such an important part of whiskey production.
If you're not a whiskey-obsessive like myself, odds are your interaction with rye whiskey is limited to classic cocktails such as the Manhattan or the Sazerac. While those time-tested concotions certainly deserve their success, the world of rye has come a long way from the spirits that inspired them. So what exactly is a rye?
The premise behind the Single Oak Project is simple: much (some say most) of a whiskey's character comes from the spirit's interaction with wood during the years it rests in an oak barrel. So what happens to the whiskey if you tinker with the wood and other variables in different, tightly controlled ways?