Tag Archives: buffalo trace

Single Oak Project

SingleOak_mfgEvery three months between May 2011 and Feb 2015, Buffalo Trace released 12 unique barrels from their highly experimental Single Oak Project collection and encouraged buyers to review them on the SingleOakProject.com website.  Each barrel produced approximately 400 hand-numbered 375ml bottles that sold for $45-$60 each, a hefty price to pay for an unknown bourbon. In the end, only about 6% (est.) of the ~76,000 total bottles produced were actually reviewed on Buffalo Trace’s project website and many of them ranked in the B/B- grade range compared to other bourbons at that price point.

Despite the mixed response from the public, there were a few barrels that managed to separate themselves from the pack and earn status as “must have” bottles for serious bourbon collectors and drinkers. Unfortunately, they earned this status well after their respective releases occurred, so these bottles are extremely difficult to find now outside auctions, trading groups, or dusty mom & pop shops.  They are barrel #80 (the overall winner for the experiment), barrels #82, #109, #161, and #179 (the four runners up for overall best), barrel #1 (wanted for collectible status), barrel #111 (highly rated on the website), barrels # 155, 187, 188 (earned a rare 5/5 rating from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal), barrels # 14, 27, 30, 63, 101 (scored 95+ in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible) and barrels # 56, 136 (referenced in a press release as favorites of voters with most barrels reviewed).

The best barrel (#80) was ultimately selected by a panel of experts. It had a rye-focused mashbill, 12 months of stave seasoning time, average grain size, 125º entry proof, #4 char, wood from the bottom half of the tree, and was matured in a warehouse with a concrete floor.  Buffalo Trace will produce a bourbon brand that matches that barrel, so it is the most valuable of the entire series for enthusiasts who want to try it or collect the original bottle.  In addition to that winner, all of the better rated and runners up bottles from this series will likely grow in value over the next few years as the whole line disappears from the market.

You can still find bottles on shelves in smaller stores with large bourbon aisles but remember, this one is all about the barrel numbers.  Good numbers are worth hunting, bad ones are a waste of money.  If you’re unsure about the barrel numbers, aim for the ones listed here or look over drinkhacker.com’s  detailed reviews & data on each barrel.

Producer’s Description: For over two centuries Buffalo Trace Distillery has been a pioneering leader in quality and innovation. The Single Oak Project is its most inventive and comprehensive experiment yet. It all started with 96 individually selected American oak trees that differed according to the number of growth rings per inch and growing location. Each tree was then cut into two parts – top and bottom – yielding 192 unique tree sections. A single barrel was constructed from each section. Prior to construction, the stave seasoning was varied. The 192 barrels were then charred differently. These single oak barrels were then filled with different recipe whiskeys, at various entry proofs and aged in a variety of different warehouse styles. This experiment allows whiskey connoisseurs to directly compare the impact of seven different critical variables across 192 bottles for a total of 1,396 taste combinations.  None of the 192 bottles in the complete set are exactly alike. The Single Oak Project is undoubtedly the most extensive bourbon experiment ever undertaken.

Producer:  Buffalo Trace Distillery
Release Category: Limited-Edition, Limited-Time
Release Frequency: 12 Barrels Every 3 Months (2011 – 2015)
Releases to Date:  16 (no additional releases planned)
Release Season:  Quarterly
Release Volume:  400 Bottles per Unique Barrel; 192 Unique Barrels
Release Region: Primarily US, some UK
Sell Out Timeframe:  Medium (varies widely by geography, store focus, and bottle #)
Bottle Size:  375ml
Nickname: SOP, BTSOP, Oak Project, Single Oak, SOP+Barrel (ex: “SOP75” is barrel 75)
Avg. Price Retail:  $55
Avg. Price Among Whiskey Traders:  $70 (general bottle) – $125 (uniquely rated)
Avg. Price on Secondary Market:  $100 (general bottle) – $150+ (uniquely rated)
Trading Value:  2/10 for general bottles; 4/10 for highest rated bottles
DSP Codes: DSP-KY-113
UPC Code: 00088004009915
Mash Bill: Varies by barrel

Releases
We estimate about 400 bottles per barrel# were released.
Release 16 – (Feb, 2015) – Barrels # 7, 20, 39, 52, 71, 84, 103, 116, 135, 148, 168, 180
Release 15 – (Nov, 2014) – Barrels #21, 22, 53, 54, 85, 86, 117, 118, 149, 150, 181, 182
Release 14 – (Aug, 2014) – Barrels # 2, 12, 34, 44, 66, 76, 98, 108, 130, 140, 162, 172
Release 13 – (May, 2014) – Barrels #11, 13, 43, 45, 75, 77, 107, 109, 139, 141, 171, 173
Release 12 – (Feb, 2014) – Barrels #15, 16, 47, 48, 79, 80, 111, 112, 143, 144, 175, 176
Release 11 – (Nov, 2013) – Barrels #19, 23, 51, 55, 83, 87, 115, 119, 147, 151, 179, 183
Release 10 – (Aug, 2013) – Barrels #9, 25, 41, 57, 73, 89, 105, 121, 137, 153, 169, 185
Release 9 – (May, 2013) – Barrels #5, 6, 37, 38, 69, 70, 101, 102, 133, 134, 165, 166
Release 8 – (Feb, 2013) – Barrels #28, 59, 60, 91, 92, 123, 124, 155, 156, 187, 188
Release 7 – (Nov, 2012) – Barrels #18, 26, 50, 58, 82, 90, 114, 122, 146, 154, 178, 186
Release 6 – (Aug, 2012) – Barrels #30, 32, 62, 64, 94, 96, 126, 128, 158, 160, 190, 192
Release 5 – (May, 2012) – Barrels #1, 17, 33, 49, 65, 81, 97, 113, 129, 145, 161, 177
Release 4 – (Feb, 2012) – Barrels #10, 14, 42, 46, 74, 78, 106, 110, 138, 142, 170, 174
Release 3 – (Nov, 2011) – Barrels #8,
 24,
 40,
 56,
 72, 
88,
 104,
 120,
 136,
 152,
 167
, 184
Release 2 – (Aug, 2011) – Barrels #29, 31, 61, 63, 93, 95, 125, 127, 157, 159, 189, 191
Release 1 – (May, 2011) – Barrels #3, 4, 35, 36, 67, 68, 99, 100, 131, 132, 163, 164

Reviews / Awards
2012 Ramsay’s Dram Hogmanay Award (The “Hoggies”)
Barrel #155 – 5 stars/Highest Recommended – F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal
Barrel #187 – 5 stars/Highest Recommendation – F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal
Barrel #188 – 5 stars/Highest RecommendationF. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal
Barrel #101 – 96/100Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible
Barrel #82 – Overall Favorite as of Jan 2015Voters at SingleOakProject.com
Barrel #109 – Runner-up for Overall Favorite as of Jan 2015Voters at SingleOakProject.com
Barrel #111 – Runner-up for Overall Favorite as of Jan 2015 – Voters at SingleOakProject.com