Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Whiskey Wednesday: Identity Crisis - Party Source Buffalo Trace Experimental Wheat on Rye

Bourbons come in two standard formulas. To meet the legal definition, they have to be at least 51% corn (but usually much more), and to produce necessary enzymes, most use a bit of malted barley. Beyond that, the vast majority of Bourbons use one of two additional grains for flavor: rye or wheat. Most Bourbons use rye as the secondary flavor grain, which imparts a spicy flavor, but a few use wheat, which is milder, sometimes includes citrus or acidic notes and can allow the sweetness of the corn to be more dominant. If you are a regular reader, you know that I have reviewed a number of so-called "wheaters" and have a fondness for them.

Buffalo Trace has three Bourbon recipes, two using rye (with different percentages) and one using wheat. The wheated recipe is used for the Weller and Van Winkle line of Bourbons. They also make fantastic rye whiskeys under the Sazerac label.

In this third in a series of reviews of the newly available on-line specialty bottlings from The Party Source, I taste their Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Wheat on Rye, a wheated Bourbon aged in rye whiskey barrels.


Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection "Wheat on Rye" by the Party Source, 8 years old, 63.5% alcohol ($59.99 exclusively at The Party Source)

The nose on this is soft and mellow, very typical of wheated Bourbons. As with the Party Source's Rye 'n Barrel, the flavor is unique. From each sip, I get different elements of the constituent grains. When it hits the tongue, I get sweet corn, followed by a distinct rye spice. Throughout, there is an underlying flavor from the wheat. The corn and the rye may be more immediately discernible, but the inner Weller is always there, and after a few drinks, it tastes more of wheated Bourbon than rye. Adding water brings the wheat even more to the forefront, but the rye spice still kicks in on the finish. This is another terrific, innovative whiskey from The Party Source.

I've had great fun on the last three weeks of Party Source Bourbons. The Party Source is doing some amazing work with these bottlings, and I look forward to trying some of their other special selections.

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