Eagle Rare 10 Year
Eagle Rare, a Buffalo Trace workhorse, is a 10-year-old bourbon that has seen lots of change in its lifetime. Eagle Rare was introduced in 1975 as a 101-proof ten-year old Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey (not single barrel) from Seagram created by master distiller Charles L. Beam. It was acquired by Sazerac in 1989 and has been produced in Buffalo Trace's Blanton Hall as a single barrel bourbon. The 17-year-old ER is released each Fall as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and turns men into evil elves.
In May 2014, Buffalo Trace issued a press release discussing the challenges it faces in keeping up with consumer demand. Simultaneously, Buffalo Trace quietly dropped the single barrel designation and changed Eagle Rare's labeling, removing the 10 year mark altogether.
Buffalo Trace CEO Mark Brown explained to Clay Risen last year that Eagle Rare will remain a 10 year old product, but because its labeling is no longer done by hand, the company decided to go with a plain, silver wrap on the bottle neck. Production and bottling has moved to a second line where bourbons from different barrels may unintentionally mix. As a result, BT removed the single barrel designation in an abundance of distilling integrity. Hot damn.
In the end, I don't care. Let's drink some and see what happens.
Eagle Rare 10 Year
Buffalo Trace Distillery
$30 at ABC in Salisbury, NC
Nose: Fresh blackberries, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and lacquered wood. Very pleasant to swirl and smell.
Tasting Notes: Oak, toffee, honey, leather and deep caramel. The taste is bold and dry. The finish is longish with a tobacco spice that I'm not always in the mood for, but on certain occasions it hits the spot.
Overall: B. Eagle Rare has a striking balance between sweet flavors and punchy spice. The more I sip on ER, the more I appreciate it. It is a sophisticated pour at this price point and is equally challenging and satisfying.