One of the many things to celebrate about Bourbon Heritage Month is that September is when many distillers target the release of their new products. Last week I received samples from Buffalo Trace’s 2012 Antique Collection, a limited release of five whiskeys that will appear on shelves later this month with a suggested retail price of $70 each. I tasted them in order of proof, from lowest to highest, and here are my impressions of each.
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old
Aroma: Leather, vanilla; delicate nose
Taste: Dry and peppery, this one “blooms” on the palate. Notes of almond; peppery, tannic finish. A little too much wood for my liking – almost cedar.
Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old
Aroma: Cinnnamon and allspice
Taste: Toffee, spruce, gingersnap. Fairly dry finish.
William Larue Weller (uncut, unfiltered wheated recipe)
123.4 proof; distilled in spring 2000
Aroma: Very zingy, lots of spice – this one will open the sinuses!
Taste: Also very spicy on the front, but then a buttery quality cuts the spice, leaving a taste not unlike pulled cream candy. Warm finish with a lingering burn.
Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (uncut, unfiltered straight rye)
132.4 proof; distilled in spring 2006
Aroma: Rye bread, allspice
Taste: Allspice, cinnamon, raisins. Lingering finish with a little pepper.
George T. Stagg (uncut, unfiltered)
142.8 proof; distilled in 1995
Aroma: Vanilla, cinnamon, lots of alcohol
Taste: Fiery but smooth, with notes of coffee and chocolate.
Overall verdict: While nothing here captured my fancy like the 2011 Sazerac 18 Year Old, which was one of my favorite whiskeys of last year, I do recommend both the George T. Stagg and the William L. Weller. Get ‘em before they’re gone.