It's that time of year again: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection season! Buffalo Trace just released this year's lineup and the secondary market is already getting extra thirsty. Lines will be formed, lotteries entered, and many dollars shelled out. If you are not one of the blessed few who snag this year's BTAC lineup, not to worry! I have put my tastebuds to work to provide you the full experience in writing, so grab a dram, settle in, and scroll down to read my tasting notes. Cheers!
GEORGE T. STAGG
Ah, Stagg. The Adamantium medal winner of the Valhalla Intergalactic Spirits Competition, it is no surprise this is a highly sought-after pour. This year, of course, is no exception! Clocking in at 130.4 proof, this sucker packs a real punch even Mjölnir would respect.
- NOSE: The nose of this leaps right out of the glass, tickling the nostrils with that a crispy, sugary scent. What you imagined a Cronut would taste like but then after you waited in line for hours, realized it's just a croissant with a hole in it.
- TASTE: A complex melange of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, with a touch of cream at mid-palate. Essentially a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but without all of the basicness.
- FINISH: Marzipan AF; no ascot required.
SAZERAC RYE 18 YEAR OLD
Sazerac 18 is the coming-of-age, grown-up version of "Baby" Saz, so it only follows that this would have three times the flavor, so I poured three ounces to taste. You can't argue with math and science.
- NOSE: Really, really, really caramely, that rolls into honey, honey, honey. Pretty grainy, grainy, grainy whiff at the end.
- TASTE: Light, light, light burn on the tip of the tongue. Overall a gentle, gentle, gentle rye, rye, rye whiskey that hits with a touch of pepper, pepper, pepper. There is not much burn, burn, burn, but enough to warm, warm, warm your chest.
- FINISH: End of the swallow yields a holiday, holiday, holiday spice at the tip of the tongue.
WILLIAM LARUE WELLER
They say Bourbon can be medicinal, healing both the body and soul. This year's William Larue Weller (not to be confused with the Special Reserve W. L. Weller, 107 Antique W. L. Weller, Choose Your Perfect Barrel W. L. Weller, Single Barrel W. L. Weller, Full Proof W. L. Weller, Bottled in Bond Weller, Weller Ocean, Weller Toasted Oak, or Weller Mint Julep), will certainly cure what ails you.
- NOSE: This is a very complex bouquet, with notes of camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. Will be sure to open up even the stuffiest of sinuses.
- TASTE: A swig out of that infinity bottle you've been amassing during quarantine, but you're paying secondary for it. At mid-palate, you glean notes of cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, and thymol.
- FINISH: You're going to need a bucket and a mop for this WAP (Wheatey Ass Pour).
THOMAS H. HANDY SAZERAC RYE
The 2020 Handy release boasts a 32% evaporation rate and 129 proof. The 2020 Taco Bell menu has a similar shrinkage rate.
- NOSE: The delightful complexity of the 7 Layer Burrito, with whiffs of both fresh crispness and rich, buttery notes of a legume medley.
- TASTE: Utter satisfaction, like a fresh serving of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. A first impression of light spice and crisp depth, that slowly ushers in an unctuousness of soft, smooth starch that is perfectly complemented by the zingy salinity of nacho cheese.
- FINISH: Simple, yet perfectly balanced. Gentle, white corn notes enhanced by a healthy dose of warm, lightly spicy savory and a hint of umami.
EAGLE RARE 17 YEAR OLD
With over 1,000 flavors to discover, you cannot pass this one up. If you can dream it, you can taste it. The flavor to dollar ratio of this particular release in unbeatable, even by 5 bottles of Woodford.
- NOSE: The olfactory tempest of walking into a Yankee Candle during Christmas. The overwhelming scent that smells like everything from Tahitian Nights and Warm Luxe Cashmere, to Evergreen Mists to Icy Blue Spruce.
- TASTE: Cinnabon® Caramel Pecanbon® but from the good ones at the mall, not the ones that come with intense shame from the airport.
- FINISH: Marshmallow that rolls into Cotton Candy, and finishes with touches of both Vanilla Swirl and hint of Red Velvet. Calgon, take me away!
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Disclaimer: Buffalo Trace did not provide us with any samples of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and, at this point, probably never will. Without the ability to actually taste the product, we appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached and no baseline whatsoever. Thank you.