“As good as, or better.” That’s Master Distiller Jeff Fairbrother’s motto. Because while every single batch of Black Button bourbon is guaranteed to be as good as the last, slight changes in the flavor profile make each batch unique. We are dedicated to releasing the perfect blend, and we take meticulous measures to do so.
“[President and Master Distiller] Jason Barrett and I sample through barrels that we feel are ready. If they’re over two years old, actually a lot of our barrels are coming on three years old, we will sample those barrels and decide if they’re ready or not. If they are ready, we then decide the flavor types.”
“We have four large metal 350-gallon tanks that we harvest these [ready] barrels into. Once we deem a barrel is ready, we [determine]: what is the main flavor profile of that barrel? Is it oaky, is it spicy, or is it sweet? Does it not have any strong character either way, but it’s ready bourbon with no flaws? We have a sweet tank, a spice tank, an oak tank and a base tank. The base [is] good bourbon, but it has no specific quality. By doing this, you can then blend from those four tanks.”
“What I do every time is I look at what the last batch percentage is. When I’m making a bench trial, I’ll make a small 100ml batch. Let’s say the makeup of [Batch 17’s] blend was 25% of the base tank, 27% of it was sweet, 33% was spice, and 15% was oak. I’ll make a sample that matches that. Now you have to keep in mind that I’ve added barrels to these tanks after the last batch, so these tanks now have changed flavor profiles slightly. Maybe my next batch won’t be the same percentage, but I have to have a starting point.”
“Once I do [the bench trial], we’ll sample that blend and then I can decide: What does it need more of? What should we take away? From there, I just start playing with percentage numbers of the tanks to then come up with a blend that I find is as good as Batch 17, or better.”
Before a new batch gets released, Jason and Jeff take more steps to ensure quality. Jeff creates six to seven samples of different percentage blends and Jason tries every one of them. Jason and Jeff then discuss each sample and make a decision on what they believe to be the finest blend.
“The latest batch actually came out to be 25% of the base, the same as the last batch. Sweetness was dropped by a percentage, so it was about 26%, not 27%. The spice was brought way down, it’s 28% vs. the 33%. The oak was bumped up quite a bit to 21% vs. the 15%.” — Master Distiller Jeff Fairbrother
“We have 20% wheat in our our Four Grain blend. What I think that helps do is kind of cut the corn flavor profile. It doesn’t really add a sweetness, but it does cut [the corn]. I think our bourbons have a signature taste, it’s hard to describe it. I think they have this very typical sweetness, with this nice hint of rye (the spice). The spice is pretty low at 9%, but I do think it’s still there quite a bit.” — Master Distiller Jeff Fairbrother
Our flavor profile, attention to detail and the painstaking process of producing our signature quality blend is a rare thing that you will not find anywhere else. Tasting our new blend is tasting Black Button’s authentic craftsmanship.