Skip to Main Content

Award-Winning Distillery Buffalo Trace Selects Premium Barrel for Holland America Line 

Master blenders Drew Mayville and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Freddie Johnson curate an exclusive barrel for the fleet

Seattle, Wash., Feb. 15, 2024 — Holland America Line’s beverage program is introducing an exclusive single barrel select bourbon from Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. 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 opportunity to serve this unique bourbon arose when Mayville, an avid Holland America Line 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 unique opportunity to hand-pick a barrel from Sazerac’s award-winning collection.

“We strive to share experiences with our guests that they won’t find anywhere else,” said Michael Stendebach, Holland America Line’s vice president of 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 Line 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 — both icons in the bourbon and spirits world — guided them through a tasting. 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.”

The standout 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 and will be available for guests to order in March. Enthusiasts seeking to try this exclusive bourbon will find it in the Ocean Bar on each Holland America ship, where it will be served neat, on the rocks, or as an Old Fashioned.

Buffalo Trace joins Holland America Line’s evolving beverage program that includes partnering with award-winning bartender Ivy Mix who created new cocktails that capture the essence of Mexico and Latin America, launching its own De Lijn gin and introducing a traditional, pirate-inspired rum punch crafted by renowned mixologist David Wondrich that is available on Caribbean cruises. Additional destination-inspired beverage partnerships will be announced soon.