Thursday, October 11, 2012
Dusty Thursday: The Inagural Sazerac 18
To commemorate the beginning of the fall whiskey season and the impending release of this year's Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, I thought I'd reach back to the first BTAC. The Antique Collection debuted in 2000. Back then it was a three bottle release featuring Eagle Rare 17, William Larue Weller and Sazerac 18. George T. Stagg would join the party in 2002 and his pal Tom Handy would be the last addition in 2006.
I first picked up a bottle of Sazerac 18 back in 2005 and formally reviewed it way back in ought seven. I've been lucky enough to get my hands on some of the original 2000 release of Sazerac 18 year old rye.
The thing about Sazerac 18 is that since 2003, Buffalo Trace has been using the same distillate for all its Sazerac ryes. Apparently, there was enough rye distilled in 1985 for them to transfer it to steel tanks after 18 years, and since 2003, they have been drawing the Sazerac 18 from those same steel tanks. That makes the pre-2003 ryes even more unique since, unlike everything since '03, they were made from different distillate (though it remains to be seen if this year's Saz 18 will be from the '85 run).
Sazerac 18 (circa 2000), 45% abv.
The nose is beautiful with plenty of spice and even some of those sandalwood notes that I've found on old Pennsylvania ryes, followed by some botanical/herbal notes. The palate takes all of those notes and combines them with some sweet, overripe fruit, but that sandalwood notes really dominates toward the end and into the finish.
This is more like an old Pennsylvania rye than any Kentucky rye I've had. It's totally unique and has a different character from the more recent bottlings of the 1985 vintage rye.