BTAC Interview With Kris Comstock
BT Brand Manager Talks Antique Collection
As most Boubonr’s know the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection was announced last week which had the bourbon world buzzing. While the press release did include some great information, Brand Manager of Buffalo Trace Distillery Kris Comstock was kind enough to talk about some of the highlights in 2014 BTAC release as well as some other commonly asked questions about bourbons coming from Buffalo Trace.
I’ve tried to figure out the best way to format this interview to where it doesn’t read like a bourbon novel. To prevent this I’m just going to bullet point the highlights of the conversation because, to me, it’s easier to read. I’ve also never received higher than a “C” in English so I don’t know if its bad form or not.
– William LaRue Weller is bottled at the highest proof in the history of the brand and is Kris’s favorite from this years BTAC. However, Kris stated that there are about 1/4 the amount of WLW bottles released in comparison to George T Stagg. While I really want a bottle of WLW I’m thinking trying it at a bar may be my best option.
– The press release mentioned that George T Stagg bottle count was increased for the 2014 release. This is true however the increase is up from 156 barrels in 2013 to 161 barrels in 2014 so not a huge increase (by my calculation it’s actually slightly less in 2014 based on barrels and evaporation loss %).
– Since Eagle Rare 17 may have been my favorite 2013 release I was excited to hear about it for 2014. Kris confirmed that it was really Eagle Rare 19 for this release. He also stated that Buffalo Trace doesn’t currently have a rye recipe bourbon brand that’s aged greater than 20 year. That means my dreams of Elmer T Lee 20 are crushed for now. According to Kris, letting bourbon age that long can be very risky because one additional year of aging can ruin a bourbons flavor (for some reason wheated bourbons tend to do better with extended aging).
– Sazerac 19 is still bottled from steel vats and no confirmation on when the BT rye will be ready. By amateur calculations this would be the last year before it’s ready but Kris said it would be highly publicized by Buffalo Trace once it is ready.
– Pretty much none of the barrels were selected from the first floor of the warehouse. This is part of the reason for the increased proof in WLW.
– And no, Elmer T. Lee will not be added to the BTAC line up.
– Buffalo Trace now has 2,800 barrels of experimental whiskey aging. About 150 of these barrels are aging in the state of the art Warehouse X. The most interesting experiment to me is Buffalo Trace testing the effects of light on a whiskey. Does light effect whiskey in a positive manner? Is it the heat generated from the light that causes the change? Why do barrels next to windows in a warehouse taste different? These are all questions BT will definitely answer with their current experimental barrels.
– No information on 2 new E.H. Taylor releases, season wood and cured oak. According to Kris, just because something comes through the TTB doesn’t mean they move forward with a bourbon. Take that for what it is but I’m still holding my breathe on these releases.
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Quick Facts:
If you’d like to read all of the BTAC trade sheets you can get them here:
Great breakdown Blake.
Small correction of the graph based on info from the release letters: WLW was dumped from 39 barrels, not 38.
Did they give you any clues on the exact release date?
No, this is more of a distributor decision than a BT decision
Nice blog post, getting very excited with the prospect of finding some of these in the local stores. Starting to set out feelers and hope that they arrive in FL, specifically Tampa soon!
Having seen the availability of BTAC dwindle to nearly impossible for the sensible consumer due to black market re-sellers, I propose the following: if a retailer wants to honor folks that appreciate bourbon for consumption not a money-making commodity, they should sell at two price tiers: a reasonable retail if you are willing to open the bottle on site and a ridiculous premium price if you are not.
I have a couple questions regarding this chart. I was doing a math exercise to see how many bottle each will eventually yield. First is the distillation date on the Saz 18 correct. It is a year younger than the Eagle Rare 17 but the distill date is 8 years prior. Second, do the 90 proof evaporation numbers fold in the additional cutting required to bring it down to the cut proof. Meaning that at that age I would guess much more evaporation, but since water must be added to achieve that proof, evaporation is lowered. This may not be of consequence to anyone, but I have figured based on this chart and adding an additional barrel to the WLW, the approx 750 ml bottle yield for each respectively is:
Stagg: 10,848 bottles
Eagle 17: 3136
Saz 18: 2896
just looked into the proof sheets and they make the adjustment with “proof gallons”.
Saz 18 should have released more like 3620 bottles and Eagle 17 3921 bottles. Others should be correct
Saz 18 has been waiting in stainless steel vats until the BT rye is ready for bottling. Should be ready in 2015 or 2016. Based on my own calculations your bottle counts are pretty close
Since the ETL/Blantons mashbill and the associated brands are all controlled by Age International, it seems unlikely that there will be an Antique Collection bottling of them.
How is it the Sazerac was distilled in 1985?
It’s been sitting in steel vats for several years