Here in a very timely manner is my review of the George T. Stagg from Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection release for 2013. Along with the Eagle Rare 17 it is the straight ahead bourbon in that collection—I believe they’re made from the same mashbill; someone who understands these things better will surely be along shortly to explain what the differences between the two whiskies are (other than the Stagg’s always massive abv—though this 2013 release didn’t get as close to 70%, or above, as some others have).
I’ve previously reviewed the 2010 and 2011 releases, both of which I liked very much indeed. I don’t believe I even bothered trying to locate any of the series in 2013. Anyway, complaining about how annoying the mania around the various American whiskey unicorns has gotten is now annoying as that mania itself. And I suppose if I really wanted to take a genuine stand against participating in this hype and all the folly attendant on it I would stop reviewing these bottles altogether. And so I will stop here and get straight to the review.
I got this sample from Michael K. His review is here.
Continuing with the theme of younger siblings of releases from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, here is the Sazerac Rye, a 6 yo*. It just barely clears the requirements for being labeled a rye whiskey, being distilled from only a 51% rye mashbill. Though it bears the Sazerac name I believe this is supposed to be the same whiskey as is sold as Thomas H. Handy in the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, only cut down to 45%. (If that’s not true please write in a correction below.) Unlike the Thomas H. Handy, however, it is both easy to find and very affordable (and easier to find and cheaper than the Stagg Jr. as well).
*As per Patrick’s comment below, there is apparently no confirmation that this is a 6 yo and I realize that Bryan’s label has the words “I think” after 6 yo. So this may not indeed be a 6 yo. Continue reading
This Sazerac 18 from the 2011 release of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection may be the oldest rye I’ve tasted, but then again it may not; there are rumours that the Van Winkle Rye 13 may in fact be a lot older than 13. But this is certainly the oldest rye I’ve tasted by stated age. Why the American whiskey business can’t be more transparent, I don’t know. Anyway, I managed to get my hands on the entire BTAC release for 2011 when I was first trying to develop a sense of bourbon–back then it was possible to actually find and buy them all. I split the collection 50/50 with my friends Jessica and Nate–they kept the bottles, I took my half in mason jars because I’m hillbilly that way.
Last year I made an attempt to score some of the BTAC and failed. This year I don’t think I’m going to try very hard. It’s not that I don’t think the whiskeys are worth it; I think they are–despite the price increases they still present very good price/quality ratios compared to Scotch of similar quality. It’s just that my ability to truly appreciate this stuff is not very well developed and so the gigantic hassle of trying to score a bottle makes the entire experience not worth it. Continue reading