For the past decade, bourbon fans have eagerly awaited the annual fall release of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection. This year’s Antique release comes with a new (and permanent) twist: Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon will now be 101 proof, rather than the traditional 90 proof. The change is a tribute to the original strength used when the brand was launched in 1974.
The 2018 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October. Suggested retail price is $99 each. Here are the distillery’s notes on this year’s expressions.
George T. Stagg
The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg weighs in at 124.9 proof this year. Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon have won many top awards; last year’s release earned a Double Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2003. This batch contained 284 barrels, not quite as much as last year’s yield, but still significantly more than the yield from previous years. Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses C, H, I, K, P, and Q. This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, espresso and tobacco.
William Larue Weller
The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including a Double Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and “Bourbon of the Year” in “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017.” The 2018 offering was distilled in the winter of 2006 and aged in Warehouses C, I, K, L, M, and Q. This bourbon registers in at 125.7 proof. The bold flavors include dried fruit, fig, and caramelized vanilla.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018” has named previous years’ releases “Best Rye Whiskey with no age statement.” This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2012; aged in warehouses I and L; and weighs in at 128.8 proof. The flavor profile includes hints of allspice, teaberry, and clove.
Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old
The 2018 edition was distilled in the Spring of 2000 and has been spending its time aging on the first, second and fifth floors of Warehouse C. This bourbon tastes of toasted oak, coffee, spearmint, and butterscotch.
Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old
Last year Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old was named “Best Rye Whiskey Aged 11 Years and Over” by “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018.” This 2018 straight rye whiskey release, bottled at 90 proof, has notable flavors of dark chocolate, tobacco, and cinnamon. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 1998.