Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, 2012

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

90 proof

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

90 proof

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.

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The Bourbon Babe