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Old Taylor Distillery

A Short Guide to the Buffalo Trace OFC series

The Legacy of EH Taylor

The Essence of the OFC Series 

OFC is the ultimate expression of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. It is, essentially, a vintage-dated sour mash Kentucky Bourbon which, in terms of maturity, complexity and authenticity, represents the high watermark of the distillery’s production. It is also a tribute to the progenitor of Buffalo Trace, Colonel EH Taylor Jr, and the distillery he created in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 1870.

Historical Roots of the Series

EH Taylor’s ambition was to build a distillery capable of producing the finest Bourbon whiskey money could buy. The OFC Distillery (‘OFC’ standing for ‘Old Fashioned Copper’) he built on the banks of the Kentucky river was the most state-of-the-art distillery of its era. It featured copper fermentation vats, column stills, and an innovative steam heating system – at the time the first of its kind – that is still used to make Buffalo Trace Bourbon whiskeys to this day. Such was the significance of this distillery that it went on to become a National Historical Landmark, celebrating the heritage and culture of the United States.

Recreating EH Taylor’s Legacy

150 years later, Buffalo Trace has sought to recapture the spirit of EH Taylor’s original vision by creating the OFC series. OFC is liquid history, an extra-aged Bourbon that harks back to the old style of sour mash Bourbon. A century and a half ago, such whiskey was made very differently from the way in which it is made today: different processes, different recipes – souring of the mash (the liquid mass of fermented grains from which the spirit is distilled) being the most pertinent example in terms of OFC.

For its OFC series, Buffalo Trace has gone to great pains to rediscover and recreate these long-lost processes and recipes – even going so far as excavating and restoring Taylor’s original 1870 fermentation vessels (the current Buffalo Trace Distillery was built on the site of the old distillery), reinstalling the copper plating favoured by EH Taylor to recreate as accurately as possible the original OFC sour mash and, in turn, the authentic flavour of EH Taylor sour mash Bourbon. The OFC series is thus more than a fine Bourbon whiskey: it is window into the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s heritage, and a testament to the handed-down know-how on which the Buffalo Trace’s reputation is based.

The key features of OFC:

Extended maturity – while straight Bourbon whiskey must be aged in oak for at least two years, OFC releases are matured for much longer – typically more than two decades). Bourbon whiskies with this level of maturity are extremely unusual – generally speaking, beyond 15 or so years, such whiskies begin to decline. But with OFC, careful storage and meticulous barrel selection have enabled Buffalo Trace to push the boundaries of this type of whiskey, and produce a long-aged Bourbon of almost unparalleled maturity and complexity.

Rarity – The first OFC release in autumn 2016 consisted of just 200 bottles: 100 bottles from the 1980 vintage, 50 bottles from 1982, and 50 bottles from 1983. These exceptionally rare were auctioned for charity and raised close to $1.2 million for causes including cancer services, cystic fibrosis, leukaemia and lymphoma, children’s rights, autism, military veterans, animal protection and arts foundations. Subsequent vintages have been released for sale in four stages: 1985; 1989 and 1990; 1993 and 1994; and finally, in autumn 2020, the 1995 vintage.

Quality OFC has quickly become an iconic vintage-dated Bourbon whiskey. Differences in the spirit from each vintage offers subtle nuances of flavour for the appreciation of the true Bourbon connoisseur. Typically the whiskey will display cherry cordial and burnt caramel notes on the nose, and dark chocolate, tobacco leaves and dates on the palate, followed by a lingering finish of leather, black pepper and clove. This whiskey is also impeccably presented: each hand-cut crystal bottle is inlaid with copper lettering and encased in an elegant presentation box.

Celebrating Over Two Centuries of Bourbon Craftsmanship

For more than 200 years, Buffalo Trace Distillery has been defined by a dedication to making fine Bourbon whiskey. The OFC series is its crowning achievement, embodying the spirit of this historic distillery unlike any other.

 

Buffalo Trace OFC Set (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)
HED47079 / 300cl / 45%
£19,500.00
Paying homage to the O.F.C. Distillery, now recognized as the Buffalo Trace Distillery and an American National Historic Landmark, these highly rare and collectible bourbons are presented here in a set. Each O.F.C. Vintage whiskey is showcased in a bevelled crystal decanter adorned with authentic copper lettering. This collection features four distinct vintages – 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996. While recipes and ageing periods differ by vintage, many are expected to mature gracefully for twenty years or longer.
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Buffalo Trace barrels

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