Buffalo Trace Distillery Hard Hat Tour
Frankfort, Kentucky - Todd and Claranne Gleason took the Buffalo Trace Hard Hat tour to learn how bourbon is made. Grains, mostly corn some rye and wheat, are ground and the alcohol distilled from the mash. After distillation, the mash is dried (distillers dried grains & solubles - DDGS). This is sold and fed to animals.
The alcohol is stored in white oak barrels which have been charred on the inside. Temperature changes in the warehouse cause the alcohol to move in and out of the wood giving the bourbon its amber color.
The longer it is warehoused the smoother the taste. There is, for example, a big difference in the taste of Buffalo Trace bourbon, aged 8 years, and its Eagle Rare brand, aged 10 years. The only difference in the two barrels of bourbon is the age, but not the ingredient mix or distillation process.
Barrels stored lower in the warehouse and towards the center produce higher quality bourbon. This is because the temperature swings are slower than on the outer edges of the warehouse