Tequila aged in bourbon barrels is nothing new. Bourbon can only be aged in new American white oak barrels, so when these distilleries finish aging their bourbons, they sell the used barrels to distilleries across the globe. From Ireland and Scotland to Barbados and Mexico, bourbon barrels are the go-to for maturing brown spirits.
Inside these casks, notes of the former spirits linger, passing touches of flavor onto the next spirit that enters the cask. While most of the barrels used for these soon-to-be brown spirits come from mass-produced whiskeys, Corazón Tequila and Buffalo Trace wondered, what might happen if barrels used for some of the world’s most-beloved bourbons were used to age high-end tequila instead? Enter Expresiones del Corazón Collection.
Launched in 2021, the two Sazerac Company-owned brands continue to grow this project each year with ongoing success. They’ve just unveiled the latest limited-edition collection, which includes two brand new añejos aged in French Oak and ex-Weller 12-Year-Old Bourbon barrels, in addition to the award-winning Artisanal Blanco and William Larue Weller, George T. Stagg and Sazerac 18-Year-Old Rye Añejo Tequilas, which are featured again as part of this year’s Collection.
The collection celebrates the excellence that goes into making spirits, whether that’s distillation, aging, or hard-to-define experimentation. Overall, things are pretty simple conceptually: Corazón’s premium tequila is aged in barrels that once held some of the world’s most-coveted whiskeys produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The Expresiones del Corazón Collection includes:
- Corazón Weller 12 Añejo Tequila: Matured for 26 months in ex-Weller 12 Kentucky Straight Bourbon barrels, this moderately sweet añejo features notes of heavily cooked agave, toasted vanilla, oak, and a smooth finish.
- Corazón French Oak Añejo Tequila: Aged for at least 13 months in French oak barrels that formerly contained Old Charter Oak French Oak bourbon, the resulting liquid delivers aromas of rich oak and vanilla. The palate is smooth and lightly sweet with hints of cooked agave, apple, and caramel.
- Corazón Sazerac Rye 18 Añejo Tequila: 24 months of aging in barrels that formerly held Sazerac Rye for 18 years produces a moderately sweet tequila with strong notes of fresh fruit, oak, caramel, almond, and cinnamon.
- Corazón George T. Stagg Añejo Tequila: After spending 22 months maturating in barrels that previously aged the high-proof George T. Stagg bourbon, this tequila delivers salted caramel flavors that burst on the palate followed by notes of charred pineapple that slowly transforms to tobacco, leaving a sweet-yet-smoky flavor on the finish.
- Corazón William Larue Weller Añejo Tequila: 15 months of aging in barrels that formerly held this beloved wheated bourbon creates a balanced and dense tequila with a hint of sweet undertones. Aromas of wood, caramel, and almond are followed by a palate filled with chocolate, vanilla, nuts, eucalyptus and chamomile.
- Corazón Artisanal Small Batch Blanco Tequila: This blanco tequila is the base spirit used for the entire Expresiones del Corazón Collection. It’s made with artisanal distillation techniques using the finest estate-grown agave and boasts a higher sugar content. The result is an elegant liquid with a sweet, gentle flavor; powerful notes of cooked agave; and hints of citrus and green apple.
Each tequila is sold separately in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection’s glass bottle, featuring a cork stopper and handwritten label specifying the barrel, bottle number, and date of bottling.
The Expresiones del Corazón Collection is available in limited quantities at select retailers, bars, and restaurants across the United States. The suggested retail price for the Artisanal Blanco is $60, while the William Larue Weller, Weller 12, French Oak, George T. Stagg, and Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Añejos have a suggested retail price of $80 each.