Friday, January 25, 2013
Is the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection in Decline?
For the past decade, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection has consistently distinguished itself as the best of American whiskey. Few other whiskeys have been able to even come close to the quality of the quintet of George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Thomas H. Handy rye and Sazerac 18 year old rye. Even while the whiskey have become hard to find, the price has remained fairly consistent, making them a great value...if you can find them.
Over the last two years, however, the quality of these whiskeys appears to have declined. They are still great, but they have come down to earth from their previously astronomical levels. In December, I wrote about my disappointment with the 2012 George T. Stagg, but the 2011 was also a bit off balance, especially when compared to the 2010 and other earlier versions, which were so bold yet also balanced and complex.
I recently sampled the 2012 Weller and found a similar phenomenon. Both the 2012 and 2011 lacked the complexity of earlier versions, especially the excellent 2009 edition. There were more off notes, sour and bitter, than in previous versions. (See LA Whiskey Society Reviews of George T. Stagg and William Larue Weller through the years).
I haven't been as consistent in trying the other BTAC whiskeys, but I've noticed a similar drop in quality in all of those I've tried over the last two years.
I want to reiterate that these are still great whiskeys, but before 2010, they were absolutely phenomenal. Time will tell if this is a steady decline or merely a dip in quality.
Have you noticed a difference in your BTAC?