In a tribute to a bygone era of American history, Buffalo Trace Distillery has unveiled The Prohibition Collection, a stunning annual limited-edition release that transports whiskey enthusiasts back to the tumultuous Prohibition years. This multi-bottle collection pays homage to the whiskeys that were not only legally produced but thrived during this contentious period, and it's a celebration of their resilience and significance.
The Prohibition Era: A Glimpse into the Past
During the years spanning from 1920 to 1933, the United States experienced an unprecedented ban on the production, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. This ban, known as Prohibition, was enforced following the ratification of the 18th amendment to the United States Constitution. Alcohol became strictly regulated, with the sole exception being its prescription for medicinal purposes.
Remarkably, doctors of the time believed that spirits possessed medicinal qualities, leading to the issuance of licenses to select distilleries, granting them the right to produce medicinal whiskey. Among these esteemed establishments was the George T. Stagg Distillery, nestled in Frankfort, Kentucky, now known as Buffalo Trace Distillery, proudly bearing the title of America's longest continually-operating distillery.
The Prohibition Collection: A Whiskey Revival
This inaugural Prohibition Collection features five extraordinary whiskeys, each resurrected in tribute to a historic brand that once graced the Buffalo Trace Distillery site during Prohibition. These whiskeys serve as living relics, harkening back to a time when they were not only cherished but instrumental in preserving the distillery's legacy.
A barrel-proof whiskey at 132.4 proof, this uncut and unfiltered gem boasts an oaky, vanilla aroma. Its taste is sweet and mellow, with captivating notes of leather and dark cherries, culminating in a smooth vanilla finish. Originally created to honor former owner George T. Stagg, Old Stagg lives on today as Stagg and George T. Stagg, both bearing the imprints of this Prohibition-era brand.
This 107-proof rye whiskey offers a nose rich with the essence of rye. Its taste is herbal and grainy, featuring intriguing notes of dill pickle and rye, followed by a spicy, smoky finish with a subtle hint of banana. Dating back to 1869, Golden Wedding's journey from Pennsylvania's Schenley Distilling to the George T. Stagg Distillery during Prohibition adds to its historical allure.
A 100-proof, bottled-in-bond whiskey crafted by Buffalo Trace Master Blender Drew Mayville. Its history can be traced back to at least 1812 when it was first advertised as a luxurious rye. Today's recreation offers a captivating blend of vanilla, charred oak aromas, stone and light tropical fruit notes, and a smoky, caramel finish with a touch of cocoa.
This 90-proof high-rye bourbon entices with a subtly citrusy aroma, complemented by light corn and oak undertones. Its taste is a delightful symphony of sweet molasses, stone fruit, and vanilla, concluding with a smoky, woodsy finish. Production during Prohibition was overseen by none other than President Albert Blanton.
George T. Stagg Distillery Spiritus Frumenti:
A 110-proof wheated bourbon that pays homage to the medicinal whiskey produced at the George T. Stagg Distillery. "Spiritus Frumenti," meaning "Spirit of the Grain" in Latin, was the generic name for medicinal whiskey during Prohibition. Its tasting notes include an enticing aroma of caramelized brown sugar, a fruity yet floral taste with hints of cherry and oak, and a finish defined by vanilla, wheat, and citrus.
Preserving Tradition in the Modern World
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Master Distiller, encapsulates the essence of this remarkable collection with the distillery's motto, "Honor Tradition, Embrace Change." These brands, though fading away in the years following Prohibition, played a pivotal role in Buffalo Trace's survival. Without them, iconic bourbons like Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, and Weller may never have graced our glasses today.
Andrew Duncan, Global Brand Director for Buffalo Trace Distillery, emphasizes the importance of authenticity and heritage in building their brands. He speaks of the thrill in rediscovering these historic labels and resurrecting their stories, shedding light on the pivotal role Buffalo Trace Distillery played in preserving American Whiskey during one of the most extraordinary periods in spirits history.
A Collector's Dream: The Prohibition Collection Presentation
The Prohibition Collection arrives in a custom wooden display case, a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Each of the five 375ml bottles pays homage to its Prohibition Era packaging and original bottle size, offering a captivating glimpse into a bygone era. Even the back cartons feature cutouts, reminiscent of a time when doctors applied prescriptions for medicinal whiskey, the sole gateway to legal alcohol during Prohibition.
Availability and Pricing
The Prohibition Collection is set to be released in limited quantities through Buffalo Trace's distributor network. It will then make its way to select retailers, bars, and restaurants across the United States starting in October 2023. With a suggested retail price of $999.99 for the complete set of five 375ml bottles, this collection offers not just exceptional whiskey but a ticket to a captivating journey through American history. State taxes will vary depending on the market.
For more information and to explore the rich heritage of The Prohibition Collection, please visit Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Prohibition Collection from Buffalo Trace Distillery is more than just a collection of whiskeys; it's a portal to the past, a testament to resilience, and a celebration of heritage. In a world of constant change, this collection allows us to pause and savor the flavors of history. It's a reminder that even during the darkest times, the spirit of innovation and tradition can thrive, and it's an invitation to raise a glass to those who kept the whiskey flowing during Prohibition. So, as you savor each drop of these exquisite whiskeys, remember that you're not just tasting history – you're drinking in the spirit of an era long past, brought back to life by Buffalo Trace Distillery.
About Buffalo Trace Distillery
Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky, is one of the most iconic and historic distilleries in the United States. Established in 1773, it boasts a rich heritage that spans more than two centuries. Originally named the O.F.C. (Old Fashioned Copper) Distillery and later the George T. Stagg Distillery, it eventually adopted the Buffalo Trace name, paying homage to the ancient buffalo migration route that crossed the Kentucky River near the distillery.
One of Buffalo Trace's most notable features is its long-standing commitment to producing high-quality bourbon. It is known for its diverse range of bourbon brands, including the namesake Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Eagle Rare, Blanton's, and the highly sought-after Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, among others. Each brand offers a unique flavor profile and appeals to a broad spectrum of bourbon enthusiasts.
The distillery is renowned for its extensive aging warehouses, some of which date back to the 1800s. These warehouses play a crucial role in the maturation process of their bourbon, as Kentucky's climate, with its hot summers and cold winters, contributes significantly to the interaction between the whiskey and the wooden barrels. Buffalo Trace takes pride in its ability to balance tradition and innovation in the aging process.
Buffalo Trace is also known for its commitment to sustainable practices. They have implemented eco-friendly initiatives, such as energy-efficient lighting and the use of recycled materials, to reduce their environmental impact. Additionally, they maintain a focus on water conservation and wildlife habitat preservation, demonstrating a dedication to preserving the natural beauty of their surroundings.
The distillery offers tours to visitors, providing an opportunity to learn about the history of bourbon and the intricate bourbon-making process. The visitor experience includes tours of the aging warehouses, where visitors can witness the bourbon aging in barrels, and tastings of the various Buffalo Trace brands.
In summary, Buffalo Trace Distillery is a true American bourbon institution, with a heritage that spans centuries and a reputation for producing exceptional bourbon brands. Its commitment to quality, tradition, and sustainability ensures that it will remain a prominent name in the world of bourbon for generations to come.