Thursday, June 23, 2016
News from Buffalo Trace - Second Year of Corn – A New Variety – Planted
FRANKFORT, Franklin County, Ky (June 23, 2016) A little over a year ago, Buffalo Trace Distillery quietly purchased an additional 293 acres of farm land adjacent to the Distillery, with the intention of building more barrel warehouses to meet the growing demands of bourbon. In the meantime while permits were being secured for the new construction, Buffalo Trace decided it would be “fun” to plant its own corn, with an idea of creating its own farm to table “single estate” bourbon experience.
But it couldn’t be just any corn that was planted, the Distillery wanted to plant something that had historical meaning to this 243-year-old National Historic Landmark. Research began, and soon a strain was identified that dated back to 1876, around the same time E. H. Taylor, Jr. was making his mark on Buffalo Trace. The strain originated from a White Mastodon variety and through selection techniques in isolation it became “Boone County White,” after a farmer named James Riley coined the name. Coincidentally, Harlen Wheatley, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace, was born in Boone County, Ky., making that strain even more fitting.
After planting 18 acres of the non-GMO white corn in the summer of 2015, Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley and his team eagerly watched the corn sprout up and begin to grow, and grow, and grow! And harvest time, the stalks were well over 12 feet tall! The corn was harvested in August of last year and the grain was processed to be dried. After drying all winter, the corn was fermented and distilled at Buffalo Trace on May 31, 2016. All told, 117 barrels of the Boone County White Corn variety were distilled and are now aging in Buffalo Trace’s warehouses, to be taste tested periodically over the next few years to check on progress, and then eventually released, provided the taste profile is up to Buffalo Trace’s rigorous standards.
Now, in 2016, the cycle is beginning again, with Buffalo Trace planting its second year of non-GMO corn, this time Japonica Striped Corn, a strain originally from Japan and dating back to the 1890s. This variety will have variegated leaves of green, white, yellow and pink stripes with dark purple tassels and burgundy kernels. Typically used as an ornamental corn, this variety will be a true experiment to see how it tastes once fermented and distilled next year! In addition to both the Boone County and Japonica Striped corn being from E. H. Taylor, Jr.’s era, both are dent corn varieties, which have a high starch content and are ideal for distilling, unlike traditional sweet corn one might see in the grocery store. Buffalo Trace uses a different variety of dent corn in the distillation of the rest of the bourbons in its portfolio.
Buffalo Trace Distillery intends to plant a different variety of corn each year at its farm so each year in the future there will be a unique release. Name, age or price of this future bourbon has not yet been determined.
About Buffalo Trace DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The Distillery's rich tradition dates back to 1786 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational Distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is a National Historic Landmark as well as is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracedistillery.com