Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky has announced a new distilled spirits specialty addition to its Experimental Collection of spirits. This newest limited release is a Baijiu-style spirit aged in a variety of new American oak casks.
Baijiu, which is regarded as the largest selling spirit in the world, accounts for about 31 percent of spirits volume globally, according to the International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR, 9L volume, the calendar year 2019).
“Ask the average US drinker what the largest spirit category in the world is and they’d likely say whisky, vodka, or rum. They’d be wrong,” says IWSR. “The largest spirit category in the world, by volume, is Chinese baijiu… In fact, in 2018, more baijiu was consumed in China than the collective amount of whiskey, vodka, and rum consumed worldwide.”
This Experimental Collection Baijiu style spirit, although distilled like a whiskey, is produced using traditional Baijiu ingredients of sorghum and peas. After aging the distillate for 11 years in three separate casks, uncharred, charred and toasted white oak, the spirits were married together and bottled at 90 proof. The nose is rich and savory, with notes of chocolate, dark cherries and stone fruit. The sorghum and peas provide a palate of confection sugar, followed by a sweet toffee finish.
This spirit is the 24th release in the Experimental Collection, having released its first experiment in 2006. The Experimental Collection includes thousands of different recipes and barrel treatments which are tested and refined. These experiments examine a variety of unique variables from changes in the mash bill, types of wood, barrel toasts and more.
Baijiu is similar to bourbon in that it is an agricultural product made from fermented grains. The intriguing flavor profile and rise in the spirit’s popularity led to Buffalo Trace’s curiosity in experimenting with distilling baijiu like a bourbon to create a rich and unique spirit.
The Experimental Collection Baijiu Style Spirit is packaged in 375ml bottles, and each label includes all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. The Baijiu style can be found in select markets and will be available beginning in late April or early May with suggested retail pricing is $46.99 each.