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Buffalo Trace selects premium bourbon barrel for HAL

At left, HAL's Barrel #002, filled on Dec. 21, 2015, and aged in Buffalo Trace Distillery's Warehouse U on Floor 5, Rick 34. On the right, the private barrel selection room with Freddie Johnson and Drew Mayville at left
Holland America Line is introducing an exclusive single barrel select bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously operating US distillery.

This premium offering, curated by Sazerac Master Blender Drew Mayville and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Freddie Johnson, will be available fleetwide in March while supplies last.

The choice was Barrel #002, filled on Dec. 21, 2015, and aged in Warehouse U on Floor 5, Rick 34. This hand-selected barrel has been bottled and shipped fleetwide.

Enthusiasts can try this exclusive bourbon in the Ocean Bar on each Holland America ship, where it will be served neat, on the rocks or in an old fashioned. 

Prestigious Sazerac Barrel Select program

The opportunity to serve this bourbon arose when Mayville, an avid HAL cruiser, endorsed the cruise line for the prestigious Sazerac Barrel Select program — an honor limited to only a few participants each year. Sazerac is a family of more than 450 brands from award-winning distilleries around the world. The Sazerac Barrel Select Program allows spirits enthusiasts the opportunity to hand-pick a barrel from Sazerac's collection.

'We strive to share experiences with our guests that they won't find anywhere else,' said HAL's Michael Stendebach, VP food, beverage and rooms divisions. 'Collaborating with Buffalo Trace to craft a signature bourbon has been an incredible journey. Drew and Freddie guided us to select a barrel that will resonate with our guests and is the perfect representation of our two iconic brands.'

Holland America team members were invited to Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky to join Mayville and Johnson in the private barrel selection room, located in the well-known Warehouse D. At the distillery, the group chose four barrels, and then Mayville and Johnson guided them through a tasting.

intense notes of oak and spice 

The group ultimately chose a barrel that offers the distinct characteristics of Buffalo Trace bourbon, with more intense notes of oak and spice on the nose with a smooth, lingering finish.

Mayville reflected on the experience, stating: 'We aimed to select an expressive and distinctive barrel for Holland America Line, confident that their guests would enjoy trying something truly unique to the cruise line.'

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