Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2015: Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Whiskey

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Whiskey
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Whiskey

Eagle Rare has consistently been one of the workhorses of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. While Eagle Rare 17 may not be as highly sought after as George T. Stagg or Thomas H. Handy Rye, it has consistently scored well and delivered a superb taste experience. This year’s Eagle Rare 17 was drawn from the second and third floor of Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse Q and I.

Eagle Rare Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 17 years Old (45% ABV, $80) – as with the Sazerac 18 Rye, Eagle Rare isn’t released at cask strength, but instead is bottled at the more conventional 45% ABV. As you’d expect from a 17 year old American whiskey, oak is the star of the nose. The oak has been well digested by the spirit and reads more varnished oak. It’s still quite tannic, and while there’s cinnamon and a touch of caramel behind it, the nose is all about the oak.

The entry for this year’s Eagle Rare 17 is unexpectedly soft and slightly oily, with not a lot to say at the start. It’s odd to have such an old American whiskey be so dull on the opening. After a watery caramel start, light cinnamon is added to the equation, and it builds ever so slightly in the midpalate. There’s a sharpness to the cinnamon in the midpalate but not a fullness of flavor, and aside from some oak, it’s fairly singular. The finish is equally unimpressive, singular, and fairly dry.

This year’s Eagle Rare release is a little bit of a head scratcher. This whiskey is quite dull and flat at this proof, so much so that it begs the question, should it be a part of this year’s Antique Collection? Given that you can buy the beautiful cask strength George T. Stagg for the same price, it’s hard to think why anyone would spring for one of the weakest installments of Eagle Rare we’ve seen yet. 79 points.

2015 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Reviews:

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+Geoff Kleinman, is the founder, and managing editor of DrinkSpirits.com. He is a nationally recognized spirits columnist and staff reviewer for Whisky Advocate Magazine. Geoff's work has appeared in dozens of major magazines including Playboy Magazine, Black Book, and Mixology Magazine. He is a current sitting judge for the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, the founder of the Society of Modern Journalists, holds BAR certification from the Beverage Alcohol Resource Group, is a Certified Cognac Educator, and a Kentucky Colonel