The Sazerac Bourbon Experience
Hogtown Smoke

 

I was extremely lucky to be invited to the Sazerac Bourbon Experience, an event put on by Sazerac, Charton Hobbs and the LCBO and featuring Buffalo Trace bourbon whiskey. The event was hosted by Kevin Brauch, the Thirsty Traveler, and he taught us the 4 Fs of bourbon: Fun, family, food and Frankfurt, Kentucky. He also did a great job interviewing the special guest for the evening, Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace’s Master Blender. Drew joined Buffalo Trace in 2004 and is very passionate about bourbon.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a Paper Plane cocktail made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Aperol, Amaro and lemon juice. It was a great way to kick off the evening! Drew then guided us through a bourbon tasting paired with food made by Hogtown Smoke.

Buffalo Trace

Tasting notes:
This deep amber whiskey has a complex aroma of vanilla, mint and molasses. Pleasantly sweet to the taste with notes of brown sugar and spice that give way to oak, toffee, dark fruit and anise. This whiskey finishes long and smooth with serious depth.

Food pairing:
Smoked Trout Rilette, Cucumber, Crème Fraiche, Fried Caper

Other notes:
The recipe was started in 1999.
It is aged 8 years on average.
Drew named it as his go-to bourbon.

1792 Sweet Wheat

Tasting notes:
A well balanced bourbon with delicate body. Notes of vanilla and caramel are complimented by a touch of white oak tannins. This is further mingled with dried fruit to deliver a richly smooth flavour.

Food pairing:
Speck, House Smoked Gouda, Pickled Mustard Seed

E.H. Taylor Four Grain

Tasting notes:
Opens with an inviting aroma, with the first sip bringing a lot of character. Caramel notes are touched by sweet vanilla and caramel corn, then underwritten by slightly smoky flavours and oak tannins. It maintains a smooth evenness between the four grains interacting with the charred oak barrel. Overall, a nice balance, and unique.

Food pairing:
Chocolate Bourbon Terrine, Smoked Salt, Raspberry

Other notes:
This bourbon was made as a result of experimentation and was not planned.
It is aged for about 12 years.
It was my favourite of the four bourbons and my favourite pairing as well.

Blanton’s Single Barrel

Tasting notes:
A deep, satisfying nose of nutmeg and spices. Powerful dry vanilla notes in harmony with hints of honey amid strong caramel and corn. A medium finish composed of returning corn and nutmeg flavours.

Food pairing:
Hogtown Smoke Side Rib, Bourbon BBQ Sauce, Slaw

Other notes:
Each bottle stopper has a horse and jockey on it. The collector’s edition set of 8 different stoppers features a horse and jockey in different strides and poses resembling the stages of a horse race. Each stopper is also marked with a single letter that spells Blanton’s when the set has been completed.

Just when we thought the event was over, we were surprised with a once in a lifetime change to taste some extremely rare bourbon. Old Rip Van Winkle, straight bourbon whiskey, aged 25 years, bottle 660 of only 710 in existence, and the only bottle in Ontario, was removed from its wooden box which was made using the oak staves from the 11 barrels that held the bourbon. Those barrels were the oldest ever bottled from the old family distillery. The bottle was then cracked open and poured into tasting glasses for everyone to try. It was an amazing bourbon and I savoured it to the last drop!

After the formal part of the event ended, a live band took over the stage and the bourbon kept flowing…what a night!