In the spring of 2006, a severe storm ripped through the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky., heavily damaging two warehouses used for aging bourbon. Warehouse B was empty at the time, but Warehouse C, which was built in 1881 by Col. Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr. and is shown above, was filled with barrels.
Luckily, the storm didn’t take the bourbon. But the barrels sat exposed to the elements throughout the summer as repairs were made to the roof and the north wall. What would this do to the liquid within?
Good things, it turns out. In late 2011, the bourbon in the 93 barrels was tasted and combined into one batch, bottled at 100 proof and dubbed “Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon.” Very limited quantities are now arriving in stores, priced at $69.99 per 750ml bottle.
All of the Tornado Surviving Bourbon barrels were located on the top two floors of Warehouse C. They ranged in age from 9 years and 8 months old to just shy of 12 years. Considering their age and their increased exposure to the sun and the elements, you might expect this bourbon to be very woody and harsh – yet it’s anything but, with a sweet smoothness. (Complete tasting notes will follow tomorrow.)
Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon is the third in the line of the E.H. Taylor Jr. collection of whiskeys, following Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon and Single Barrel Bourbon, both released in 2011. Like those releases, Tornado Surviving Bourbon is packaged with a vintage label and shipped in a canister, evoking Taylor’s bottles from nearly a century ago.