A reader asked:
How come you never review the BTAC? Every year, they are the hottest releases (along with Pappy) and most other folks seem to review them but not you. What gives?
For those of you who have been spending your hard earned money elsewhere, BTAC is the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, the annual release of three bourbons and two ryes: George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac 18 and Thomas H. Handy. Well, there are three reasons I don't review the BTAC anymore (and these all apply to Pappy Van Winkle as well):
1. I can't get them. I don't have any magic whiskey blogger powers that get me free stuff. While I get the occasional free sample from a small producer, I don't get samples from any of the big whiskey companies. The vast majority of my reviews are from (1) whiskey I bought; or (2) whiskey that a friend shared with me, and like everyone else, I can't get the BTAC. But even if I could get the BTAC, I wouldn't review it because...
2. No one else can get it. It's the proverbial tree falling in the forest. If you review a whiskey that no one can drink, does it matter? It's true that I do my share of reviews of rare and hard to get whiskeys, but there has to be something interesting or unique about them. I know my readers can't go out and buy a 1930s Maryland rye, but I figure they might want to know what it tastes like. If I can find them, I will also review other hard to get annual releases like Parker's Heritage Collection or Four Roses Small Batch, but the difference between them and BTAC is....
3. The BTAC doesn't change from year to year. I don't review it every year for the same reason I don't review Elijah Crag 12 every year. It's the same whiskey (and for Sazerac 18, which has been in steel tanks for around ten years, it's literally the same whiskey). Sure there are some variations from year to year, but that's true of lots of releases of the same stuff. If you like Stagg or Weller, you'll probably like it every year, plus or minus a year or two, but since you can't find it anyway, who cares?
Now, that being said, there are a number of folks who are able to review the BTAC every year and do a good job of it which is all the more reason for me not to bother with it. For me, it's just not something that's worth the effort.