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A statistical analysis of every Warehouse at the Brown-Forman Distillery

A statistical analysis of every Warehouse at the Brown-Forman Distillery

Are you a true bourbon enthusiast, a fanatic of barrel strength Old Forester single barrels or maybe just a big data nerd? Maybe you’re a fan of Rarebird101’s breakdown of Wild Turkey’s warehouse styles and their impact on the whiskey inside. If so, then keep reading because what I’m attempting to do is quantitatively break down the average barrel proof coming from each warehouse and explain why you should care.

To start with, I’ve compiled numbers from almost 450 individual single barrels (more than 1,000 probably exist though). I wanted to start my analysis of what makes each warehouse different by mapping out information like this. It all falls under my belief that noticeable shifts in the proof are a key factor in how we get differences in overall profile (smell, taste and mouthfeel). For example, a warehouse that has less evaporation may result in a richer bourbon. Warehouse’s that produce higher-proofed barrels may see more spice and heat.

In addition to providing these numbers, I’ve also compiled my own profile notes that I commonly find throughout each warehouse. To do this, I’ve sampled over 45 different single barrels across the 7 warehouses. I took careful notes and identified scents and flavors that are most prominent. You won’t find outlier notes like kiwi or grilled corn in them – only common, relatable ones. Of course this isn’t a definitive guide, but until somebody comes out with something better it’s all we’ve got to go on!

I hope you find this helpful next time you’re questioning which single barrel to buy and what to expect. Cheers!

Warehouse G

*of note, Warehouse G is not heat-cycled*

Profile: Soft baking spices is one note that gets found consistently across the board. Sweetness comes both by way of brown sugar and buttercream frosting. Wood varnish notes are on-par with the ones found in Warehouse H. Pecans, chocolate and cola are also noted across various picks. The most common fruit notes coming from Warehouse G are cherry and banana. Many picks also give off subtle rye spice notes too.

Floor 1: Average proof: 125.85 – Highest: 128.0, Lowest: 124.2

Floor 2: Average proof: 127.88 – Highest: 129.9, Lowest: 125.4

Floor 3: Average proof: 127.37 – Highest: 128.8, Lowest: 122.8

Floor 4: Average proof: 126.66 – Highest: 128.3, Lowest: 125.4

Floor 5: Average proof: 124.9 – Highest: 125.1, Lowest: 124.5

Floor 6: Average proof: 127.76 – Highest: 133.2, Lowest: 124.8

Floor 7: Average proof: 130.21 – Highest: 136.2, Lowest: 126.0

Floor 8: Only 1 Barrel Strength bottle was found, it was 131.7 proof

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 128.17

Warehouse H

*of note, Warehouse H is not heat-cycled*

Profile: The oak notes on barrels coming from Warehouse H are much less impactful compared to I, J, K or L warehouses. This probably has something to do with Warehouse H having the lowest average proof of any of the 7 warehouses. However, since the barrels within are rumored to have aged for a longer period of time, a varnish note is more likely to be encountered. This makes any bourbon from here taste a bit more refined and mellow than the other warehouses. Expect to find honey sweetness, delicate cigar wrapper, butterscotch and raisin notes

Floor 1: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 2: Average Proof: 127.03 – Highest: 128.5, Lowest: 124.6

Floor 3: Average Proof: 124.85 – Highest: 125.2, Lowest: 124.2

Floor 4: Average Proof: 126.21 – Highest: 127.4, Lowest: 124.7

Floor 5: Average Proof: 126.38 – Highest: 132.2, Lowest: 124.4

Floor 6: Average Proof: 129.19 – Highest: 130.0, Lowest: 127.9

Floor 7: Average Proof: 128.29 – Highest: 129.5, Lowest: 126.1

Floor 8: Average Proof: 127.95 – Highest: 130.2, Lowest: 126.7

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 127.19*

*data for all 8 floors not available

Warehouse I

Profile: Expect to find lots of honey and toffee for sweetness from barrels coming from this warehouse. The overall profile is that of a classic bourbon through-and-through. Bourbon coming from Warehouse I, which produces some of the highest-proofed barrels on average, has noticeably more chocolate. Other standout notes include creamy vanilla – like that of a cheesecake – with cherries and baked apples being the most dominant fruit notes.

Floor 1: Average Proof: 132.33 – Highest: 136.5, Lowest: 127.5

Floor 2: Average Proof: 131.23 – Highest: 132.7, Lowest: 129.8

Floor 3: Average Proof: 130.09 – Highest: 131.7, Lowest: 126.8

Floor 4: Average Proof: 131.46 – Highest: 132.6, Lowest: 130.2

Floor 5: Average Proof: 130.55 – Highest: 134.1, Lowest: 127.3

Floor 6: Average Proof: 130.02 – Highest: 131.8, Lowest: 128.6

Floor 7: Average Proof: 131.63 – Highest: 132.4, Lowest: 130.0

Floor 8: Average Proof: 133.35 – Highest: 136.3, Lowest: 131.0

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 131.33*

*data for all 8 floors not available

Warehouse J

Profile: This warehouse produces more cherry-forward barrels than the others. In fact, it may produce some of the most fruit-forward barrel profiles out of the other warehouses. The cherries can best be described as black cherries (so, not as sweet). Orchard fruits are common and many of the fruit notes I find were also somewhat tart. Warehouse J also can get heavy-handed with the oak and caramel for sweetness. Chocolate and pecans flavors are common too.

Floor 1: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 2:  Average Proof: 130.23 – Highest: 130.5, Lowest: 130.1

Floor 3: Average Proof: 128.83 – Highest: 129.4, Lowest: 128.4

Floor 4: Average Proof: 129.7 – Highest: 130.5, Lowest: 128.8

Floor 5: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 6: Average Proof: 129.96 – Highest: 132.1, Lowest: 127.6

Floor 7: Average Proof: 132.3 – Highest 133.4, Lowest: 131.5

Floor 8: Average Proof: 134.05 – Highest: 135.2, Lowest: 132.0

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 130.85*

*data for all 8 floors not available

Warehouse K

Profile: Warehouse K is best described as bringing both powerful spice notes and antique oak notes. While most people may point to cherries being the most common fruit coming from warehouse K barrels, I would disagree. Many K barrels have underlying tropical (fruit) flavors like coconuts, strawberries and bananas. And while I know that strawberries aren’t necessarily a tropical fruit, for some reason they get lumped into that description in my mind. Warehouse K barrels can also take the shape of a very rye-forward profile bringing lots of spice, mint and herbal notes. These are primarily concentrated in the higher floors (4+). Warehouse K barrels are more unpredictable than most other warehouses overall.

Floor 1: Average Proof: 127.8 – Highest: 130.7, Lowest: 124.1

Floor 2: Average Proof: 129.49 – Highest: 131.9, Lowest: 126.9

Floor 3: Average Proof: 127.98 – Highest: 129.8, Lowest: 127.0

Floor 4: Average Proof: 128.93 – Highest: 1231.0, Lowest: 127.4

Floor 5: Average Proof: 129.5 – Highest: 133.0, Lowest: 127.0

Floor 6: Average Proof: 129.92 – Highest: 130.9, Lowest: 128.8

Floor 7: Average Proof: 131.14* – Highest: 132.6*, Lowest: 129.8*

Floor 8: Average Proof: 133.65 – Highest: 134.5, Lowest: 128.8

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 129.8

*Only barrels of rye whiskey were observed from this floor

Warehouse L

Profile: Warehouse L, like Warehouse K, has barrels that embrace a spicy nature. Cinnamon will be most common but also there is an oak-spice that is very prevalent. Barrels tend to be very creamy and buttery with lots of vanilla. Sweetness comes from caramel and brown sugar while fruit notes center around cherries and stewed fruits. The oak and other tannins are middle-of-the-road compared to other warehouses – never hiding and also never so tannic that it comes off as bitter. Warehouse L gives barrels that are always safe bets, but not necessarily the best at any one thing.

Floor 1: Average proof: 129.62 – Highest: 131.8, Lowest: 128.2 

Floor 2: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 3: Average proof: 130.15 – Highest: 132.9, Lowest: 127.6

Floor 4: Only 1 Barrel Strength bottle was found, it was 130.6 proof

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 130.12*

*data for all 4 floors not available

Warehouse B

Profile: Warehouse B brings the fire in terms of high proofs with almost every barrel pick that has rolled out of its two floors (there have been 90 and 100 proof picks chosen from Floors 6 through 8 by the way). Warehouse B barrels have incredible spice and powerful heat. Their oak influence is among the top 2 most powerful (alongside Warehouse K). Cherries will most certainly be found along with brown sugar or molasses sweetness. Warehouse B has other tannic notes as well like tobacco and leather. Warehouse B barrels contain good balance considering how powerful they are. While the proofs are almost all over 130, they drink more like a 120 proof with a rush of flavors in every sip.

Floor 1: Dump and Filling System

Floor 2: Dump and Filling System

Floor 3: No records of any bottles found

Floor 4: Average Proof: 133.23 – Highest: 134.6, Lowest: 131.1

Floor 5: Average Proof: 132.66 – Highest: 134.9, Lowest: 131.2 

Floor 6: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 7: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Floor 8: No Barrel Strength Single Barrel bottles were found

Average Proof for the entire warehouse: 132.95*

*data for all 4 floors not available

Analysis of Average Proofs for each Warehouse broken down by floor

I have broken down the average proof’s of each floor across each warehouse as a way to find out a couple of different things. The first one is; since we now know that Warehouse G and H are not heat cycled anymore, how does that affect the final proof of the barrels once maturation is complete? I believe the graphs show this is indisputable. Secondly, does average proof equate to a change in the profile tastes? After all, higher temperatures may be to blame for higher proofs (there certainly looks to be a correlation between those two metrics). I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

First, let’s get right to the good stuff with this analysis of the Average Proof across all warehouse floors.

What I find interesting about this graph is how there is a noticeable proof drop for barrels coming from Floor 3. Remember, this isn’t just a one-warehouse phenomenon, this was witnessed across all warehouses. Why is that? Why would Floor 3 – of all places – be pumping out the lowest barrel proofs? I haven’t been able to find the answer to that yet.

As you go along looking at these charts, please be aware that I have broken down Warehouse L’s 4 floors as Floor 1, Floor 3 (of which there were no single barrels on record), Floor 5 and Floor 7. This is due to Warehouse L not using a wooden mezzanine floor between the concrete floors like the other Brown-Forman warehouses. This diagram demonstrates it better.

Average Proof over each floor

If you’ve made it this far, then stay tuned for a downloadable file that contains a running list of every single barrel I’ve come across as well as all of their stats! I’ll put it right down here.

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Steve Coomes

Thursday 4th of January 2024

Goodness, that's some great work!


Tuesday 21st of November 2023

I just wanted to say that i recently grabbed a warehouse L floor 3 bottle @ 65.4% and it’s delicious! almost like a banana split with cherry banana vanilla caramel with some tobacco and chocolate.

K. Myers

Sunday 27th of August 2023

Really nice analysis...I'll have to compare my four single barrels to see if they correlate! Very interesting read.


Friday 25th of August 2023

This is awesome! Thank you for putting it together! I'm looking forward to the downloadable sheet!