Buffalo Trace Single Oak 175 CloseIn 1999, Buffalo Trace began an experiment to find the ultimate combination of wood and mash to make the world’s greatest bourbon. They began by selecting 96 individual oak trees from which to make barrels. Those trees were cut in half (creating a top and bottom section), resulting in 192 possible sections of wood. Each section was then fashioned into a single barrel. The seasoning time of each section varied, as did the char level. The barrels were then filled with bourbon from several different bourbon mash bills, including wheated and rye recipes. So there is a wide range of potential flavors that can come from the varying bottlings of the whiskey.

glencairn-amazonThus was born the Single Oak Project.

I have had a bottle for a few months, and Modern Thirst Beer Contributor, Todd, has had another for some time, too, and we finally were able to meet up and sample the two bottles. After tasting them, I logged onto singleoakproject.com and reviewed the bottles, at which point Buffalo Trace reveals the DNA of those bottles.

Both are 90 Proof (45% ABV)

Barrel #175 (Bill’s bottle):

Appearance: Straw, Gold, AmberBuffalo Trace Single Oak 175 Close

 Aroma: Candied Fruit, Simple Syrup, Mint, Toffee, Vanilla

Taste: Candied Fruit, Caramel, Honey, Oak, Vanilla, Cake Frosting. Very smooth on the tongue and mouth-coating.

Finish: medium in length. Smooth and sweet.

Synopsis: This is a very elegant, light, sweet bourbon. We both agreed that it was softer on the tongue, and smoother in the mouth than the bottle from barrel #77. I guessed that this was a wheater, and my suspicions were confirmed upon finding the DNA.

Barrel #175 DNA:Buffalo Trace Single Oak 175rear label

  • Barrel # 175 (Bill’s Bottle)
  • Release Number 12
  • Distillation Date 6/4/2003
  • Release Date 2/10/2014
  • Age 8 years old
  • Entry Proof 125
  • Entry Weight 494
  • Bourbon Recipe Wheat
  • Char Level #4 Char
  • Months Seasoned 12
  • Tree Cut Top
  • Growth Rings / Inch 10
  • Barrel Staves 29
  • Harvest Location B
  • Warehouse L
  • Warehouse Type Concrete Floor
  • Warehouse Location L-3-27

ModernThirst.com score: 90 out of 100 points.


Barrel #77 (Todd’s bottle):

Appearance: Amber, Bronze, Coffee. Darker and cloudier than bottle 175.

Aroma: Leather, Oak, toffee, Smoke, Vanilla. This bourbon has a big, big nose compared to the previous bottle.

Taste: Caramel, Coffee, Leather, Oak, Pepper, Toffee, and Vanilla. This is most definitely an oak-forward flavor profile.

Finish: Dry, rich, and extremely woody. There is a very strong new oak flavor that lingers on the back of the tongue, bringing a strong bitter character to the finish.

Synopsis: Night and day from the previous bottle. This one screams high rye, and the DNA doesn’t tell any different story. The lighter char level (#3) speaks to the new oak flavors versus the possibility of charred or aged oak.

Barrel #77 DNA (Todd’s bottle)

  • Release Number 13Buffalo Trace Single Oak 175 rear label 2
  • Distillation Date 6/4/2003
  • Release Date 5/15/2014
  • Age 8 years old
  • Entry Proof 125
  • Entry Weight 494
  • Bourbon Recipe Rye
  • Char Level #3 Char
  • Months Seasoned 12
  • Tree Cut Top
  • Growth Rings / Inch 13
  • Barrel Staves 49
  • Harvest Location A
  • Warehouse L
  • Warehouse Type Concrete Floor
  • Warehouse Location L-3-27

ModernThirst.com Score:  85 out of 100 points.

BTSO 77 and 175

The ModernThirst.com scoring system is a standard 100 point system based on 4 categories, taken in order.

  1. Appearance: 15 points
  2. Nose: 25 Points
  3. Palate/Taste: 35 Points
  4. Finish: 25 points
  • 95+        Epic
  • 90-94     Excellent, Good representative of its style
  • 85-89     Solid sipper
  • 80-84     Drinkable, but potentially flawed.
  • 75-79     Low quality, flawed, use as a mixer only
  • <75        Rot Gut, avoid
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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.


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