Showing posts with label Buffalo Trace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buffalo Trace. Show all posts

Friday, May 13, 2022

Eagle Rare 10 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Considering the years I've been penning reviews, I'm often surprised what I've not reviewed.  Not the off-the-radar stuff, not the limited-editions, but the basic, legacy whiskeys that should be the basics of any reviewer's library. Yet, I believe, in my quest to try the overlooked or relatively unknown and #DrinkCurious, I forget the staples out there. One of those is Eagle Rare Bourbon

Back in 1975, Charles L. Beam was the master distiller at Seagram's. He created a new brand called (you guessed it) Eagle Rare, and it was a vatted 101° whiskey distilled at the Four Roses Distillery. Then, in 1992, Sazerac purchased the brand and started distilling it at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. 

Sazerac continued to produce Eagle Rare at 101° until 2005 when the whole thing was pretty much revamped. It was no longer a small batch Bourbon and, instead, became a single barrel. The single barrel designation has since been dropped. The proof also changed and was reduced to 90°. That's continued into 2021. It still carries the 10-year age statement, but that no longer appears on the necker. Instead, it was moved to the back label.

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - the cornerstones of the birth of a nation, epitomized by the American bald eagle. That notion has come to represent freedom, spirit, and independence of the individual, giving the world products and innovations that are uniquely its own. One such innovation was Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey." - Sazerac 

Eagle Rare is made from Buffalo Trace's mashbill #1, rumored to be 75% corn, 10% rye, and 15% malted barley. It should retail for about $35.00. Finding it on the shelf for that price can be challenging but not impossible. More likely, if you do find it, you can expect to pay $50.00 or more.

Is Eagle Rare allocated?  That's a sketchy question. No, not really. But, like Buffalo Trace, folks seem to clear the shelves when they find it. And, some store owners hold it back for either their "best" patrons or for raffles and auctions.

How's it taste? Let's get to that right now.

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, Eagle Rare was absolutely caramel in color. It formed a medium rim which led to slow, long legs that fell back into the pool of liquid sunshine. 

Nose:  Very fragrant even in the glass, fruit just bursts into the air. Berries and cherry are unmistakable. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, fresh leather, and toasted oak are all tucked beneath the fruit. When I pulled the air into my mouth, plum danced across my tongue.

PalateSmooth is a descriptor many whiskey nerds hate. But there's really no other word to do the mouthfeel justice. On the front of the palate, I discovered honey, citrus, brown sugar, and vanilla. The middle featured plum, cherry, and berry fruit. Then, on the back, flavors of mint, dry oak, pepper, and clove were quite pronounced. 

Finish:  Initially, the finish was concise. But, a second sip proved that wrong, and I experienced a medium-to-long one. It started with plum, then moved to dry, smoked oak. From there, pepper, vanilla, and candied orange peel rounded things out.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: It is tough to not find Eagle Rare enjoyable. At least, in my opinion, it is a step up from the regular Buffalo Trace and a step below E.H. Taylor. This is a no-brainer slam-dunk Bottle recommendation if you see this for about $30-$45. Once you hit about $50 and above, I'd start second-guessing things. Of course, others would happily pay more; I'm just not in that camp. The takeaway is that there's really nothing not to like with Eagle Rare. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Sazerac Straight Rye Review & Tasting Notes


Let's get something out of the way. Sazerac has the best marketing team in the Wonderful World of Whiskey, hands down. Nobody does a better job of creating excitement and hype than they do. People will pay 10x (and higher) retail on some of their offerings (Antique Collection, anything Van Winkle, Blanton's, etc.). Even their flagship offerings (Buffalo Trace) seem to fly off the shelves like it is something truly special.

Mind you, I'm not badmouthing Sazerac at all. I enjoy much of what Buffalo Trace and 1792 Barton put out there. I'm simply saying there are several where I'm left scratching my head wondering what folks are doing for average whiskeys and there's no other answer than they want to like it because of the hype. 

Today's review is Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, lovingly called Baby Saz by its fans. They call it Baby Saz because part of the Antique Collection is Sazerac Rye, which I guess is Big Daddy Saz. It starts with Buffalo Trace's low-rye rye mashbill, rumored to be barely legal (meaning, at or about 51% rye content). As a straight whiskey, it is at least two years old. As a non-age-stated whiskey, it must be at least four years old. In the not too distant past, it carried a six-year age statement. Packaged at 90°, you can expect to pay about $29.00 for a 750ml bottle of Baby Saz unless you live in an area where it becomes more difficult to find. Then things, like anything else Buffalo Trace, get crazy.

I sampled a pour of Baby Saz at a local watering hole here called The Malt House. Time to #DrinkCurious and discover what this is all about.

Appearance:   Poured neat in my Glencairn glass (yes, I brought my own as The Malt House serves in rocks glasses), Baby Saz presented as a brassy amber. It created a medium rim that formed fast legs.

Nose:  Citrus and berries started things off, followed by aromas of oak, clove, and black pepper. When I inhaled through my lips, vanilla took a stroll across my palate.

Palate:  A thin, oily mouthfeel led to flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel on the front. Mid-palate featured plum, raisin, and anise. Mint, oak, and clove closed things up on the back.

Finish:  Medium in length, the finish offered black pepper, cinnamon, and rye spice before moving to vanilla, oak, and anise. 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Baby Saz is decent, but it isn't the end-all-and-be-all of ryes. It is a pretty good value for $29.00 but I'd not pay more than that. It is absolutely over-hyped and frankly, it could get lost amongst other barely legal ryes such as Old Forester and Rittenhouse, both at higher proof and much easier to get your hands on. I'll give it a Bar rating if you find this above retail, but if you've got a bottle sitting on a store shelf for under $30, go ahead and grab it.  Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

DeVine Liquor "Gold Vine Antique" Old Weller Antique Tasting Notes

Being a whiskey reviewer has its perks. Every so often, I'll get a sample of some random whiskey from friends who ask me to review it. I get a kick out of it, not only because it is a nice gesture, but also because it helps me discover new things which, in turn, I can share with you.

In this case, the friend sent me four samples for review. Each of them is from his favorite, local store and wants to know my opinion on their barrel selection ability. I'm perfectly happy to do this, with the same understanding that these are honest reviews with no strings attached.  In this case, the store in question is DeVine Liquor, which has locations in River Falls and Menomonie, WI and the first of four samples is an Old Weller Antique pick called Gold Vine Antique

In this instance, I don't know the price and for the purpose of this review, it really doesn't matter. On Old Weller Antique, assuming the store is being fair, retail would be $35-$60, depending on where and when (because Buffalo Trace enacted a price increase mid-2019).  What I can tell you is Old Weller Antique is always bottled at 107°, it is a wheater (meaning the mashbill's second-largest ingredient is wheat instead of rye). This particular version is non-chill filtered, which some folks believe leads to a more flavorful whiskey. 

In my Glencairn glass, Gold Vine Antique presented as a clear, deep copper. It left a medium-thick rim on the wall that just stuck there. Fat droplets formed, but they also didn't seem to go anywhere, even waiting several minutes before they started crawling.

Aromas of cherry and oak started the nosing process. Then, a mixture of orange citrus and honeysuckle took over. When I inhaled through my lips, thick, sweet caramel rolled across my palate. 

At first sip, Gold Vine Antique had a thin and oily mouthfeel. It coated my entire mouth. Vanilla and dry oak flavors were at the front. Those phased to cocoa and white chocolate. Then, on the back, it became a lovely mix of caramel and cinnamon.

The medium-length finish consisted of cherry and toasted oak. The cherry wandered off, leaving the toasted oak behind.

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  A few things need to be said. Old Weller Antique and, especially store picks of it, typically disappear off the shelf before they're even settled in. Moreover, this series is more a judgment on DeVine's barrel selection ability. But, Gold Vine Antique is a wonderful representation of Old Weller Antique and far as Round One goes, I'm impressed. If you happen to stumble upon a bottle, grab it. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Trader Joe's Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Review

This review originally appears on Bourbon & Banter on January 4, 2017, and you can read it in its entirety there.

I am Mr. #RespectTheBottomShelf. I’m not afraid of “cheap” whiskey, and, in fact, when I see something super-affordable, it piques my curiosity. Normally, I make a mental note to keep the bottle in mind for my next bar tasting. There are times, however, when I come across something that I know won’t be at any bar, such as a store pick or something similar. There are just times when I’m willing to take a chance – if the price is right.
While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I stumbled upon an attractive bottle of Kentucky Bourbon. A closer look showed it was Trader Joe’s private label. The next thing I noticed was the $14.99 price tag. The wheels in my head started spinning. Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck is a $2.00 wine that gets some decent accolades. If you don’t mind how it is made, it can be a very attractive buy. This being a Straight Bourbon, I know it has to meet some pretty rigorous guidelines to be labeled as such.

I Talked to my Doctor and He Prescribed Whiskey

This article was originally published December 5, 2016, on Bourbon & Banter. You can read the remainder there...

January 16, 1919, was a dark day for America. The 18th Amendment passed, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors in the United States. The Volstead Act was then passed to lay out the guidelines for enforcing the 18th Amendment. On January 16, 1920, America went dry. Well, it went mostly dry.
What a sad day that had to have been! People watched as barrels and barrels of liquid sunshine were dumped into the sewers, never to be enjoyed by a single soul...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Stagg Jr - Batch 11 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


When Stagg, Jr. was first released, it was pretty much a hot mess. Buffalo Trace tried capitalizing on George T. Stagg with a much younger release. Some folks who had those first releases were so turned off they haven’t come back.

And, then, there are those of us who #DrinkCurious...

You can read this review in its entirety over at Bourbon & Banter. Cheers!