Eagle Rare 17 Year
(Something about this whiskey just made us have to put an American Flag behind it…Harlen Wheatley for President 2016!!!)
Eagle Rare 17 Year
Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
90 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
FINALLY. Finally I got to drink some of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection. Me and the boys did our best in October to find what we could, but we only came up with one bottle of Eagle Rare 17 and two bottles of George T. Stagg, overall not too shabby, but they aren’t kidding when they say it’s virtually impossible to find the Antique Collection on a shelf anymore. It hasn’t reached the resale value that your Pappy Van Winkles have, but it is equally hard to find. In fact we found more Pappy (all at almost normal suggested MSRP even) last Fall than we did BTAC, which seems crazy, but it’s true.
So, anyway, finally cracking this bottle of Eagle 17 (this is what the kids call it) was a big deal for us. Me and my two “tasting partners” (I think I’ve already established that this is what you can call your drinking buddies and still sound professional), Andrew and Mikey, sat down with Eagle Rare 17, the standard Eagle Rare 10 Year, and a bottle of George T. Stagg (2014), and boy did some taste buds explode. I’ll leave Stagg for another review, but I can’t help but compare the Eagle Rare 10 Year and 17 Year. Spoiler alert: All these whiskeys are phenomenal.
I was really interested to side-by-side the 10 Year and the 17 Year to see what age really can do to a whiskey in a barrel. What I found surprised me a little bit. The nose of the ER17 was definitely oakier, with even browner sugar, sweet black tea, and I am actually getting some of those dark fruit notes that many Buffalo Trace whiskeys have but that the ER10 lacks. Still, the nose is pretty tight in comparison to most BT products, but it is more aggressive than the ER10’s nose, not necessarily in a good or bad way. In the mouth it is surprisingly lighter bodied–I would have guessed it would have been much more full-bodied with seven more years in a barrel, but there it is. Oak comes through big time along with strong black tea. It’s a little dryer, much more wood present. The biggest shock is that it’s not as smooth as the 10 Year, which I just assumed it would be. Shows what I know.
This was a really cool side-by-side tasting with the ER10. We did them blind at first (if you’ve never blind tasted whiskey, I highly recommend it–it mostly just teaches you that you know way less than you think and gives you a little kick in the ass which is always a good thing), and in a way we ended up being more drawn to the 10 Year. It’s more drinkable, but there is definitely some maturity to the 17 Year that makes having both something I recommend. It comes down to preference. The 10 Year is a sweeter, easy drinking whiskey, the 17 Year is dryer and more challenging, but by no means super complex or intensely challenging like some of my other favorite whiskeys. Overall, I think they are both great, and while they have their differences, they share mostly the same flavor notes, which is to be expected. I don’t really prefer one over the other actually, so at the price point the 10 Year is the way to go, plus you can buy it at just about any liquor store in the country. If I see Eagle Rare 17 again, I will absolutely buy it, but if not, I’ve always got the 10 Year…
Rating: 9.0 / 10 (yep, I give it the same rating as the 10 year!)