Sazerac Rye 18 Year – Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
Similar to the naming behind the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, this Sazerac Rye 18 Year, the name comes from New Orleans as well. The infamous Sazerac cocktail used a delicious rye whiskey. Some of you might never see this bottle on the shelf, but if you’re lucky you can track down what they call Baby Saz. To me that whiskey was pretty tasty. I can only hope that it gets better with age.
Unfortunately, there’s not some crazy backstory behind this whiskey. It seems like the history behind the Sazerac cocktail and the use of rye whiskey is enough to tell the story.
Just like the first four bottles, this Sazerac Rye 18 Year uses the same shape of bottle and similar printing on the front to let you know what it contains inside the glass. The bold lettering of Sazerac across the front is another font that takes you back to the streets of New Orleans as well.
This 18 year only comes out at 90 proof which is a big change from the others in the BTAC thus far. I’m actually quite surprised at how lacking in alcohol content it is. I’m assuming they cut it down to let it open up and show it’s wings. Let’s hope that’s the case at least. I’m always intrigued by ryes. I always have a hope that I’ll enjoy them, but for reason I’m always let down. I think I hang my hope on the fact that my favorite line, Four Roses, is a heavy rye content bourbon. So I assume that my flavor preference will cross over into the rye whiskies as well. Enough about my flavor preferences, lets get into it. Because after all you came here to read about how the whiskey tastes!
Right out of the gate I’m met with a dominant sweet note. Very berry-esque, I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but it was reminiscent of berries for sure. There were hints of syrup and even cola. It reminded me of the smell of Cherry Vanilla Coke. Very strange combination, for a whiskey, but that’s what hit my nose. I could definitely tell that it was a lighter proof. The alcohol burn wasn’t there at all when I nosed the glass. Just a sweet aroma that arose from my Glencairn.
On the palate this Sazerac Rye 18 Year hit on that vanilla note, a lot. More berries showed up alongside some ginger. It added a bit of spice to it. When I eventually swallowed that first sip I was met with a minty, anise note. Somewhat refreshing and added a bit of complexity with the floral note on the end. It wasn’t quite what I expected. But in the past I have come across some interesting floral notes in rye, especially from those folks at the High West Distillery.
The finish for this Sazerac Rye 18 Year left me wanting more, and not in a good way. It was fairly dry and short. Very thin and didn’t coat the mouth at all. I was actually sitting there thinking, “Is this it?”. Kind of bummed, because I thought for sure it would offer something a bit more dramatic, especially being an 18 year. I was hoping for a big wow factor at the end, and I didn’t get it.
Honestly, I’m really let down by this whiskey. I was hoping for so much more and to me it just didn’t deliver. I’m ranking this one the #5 out of 5 for the BTAC. I had really high hopes, but nothing seemed to really pique my interest on this whiskey. The nose was interesting, the palate had a bit of surprise with the floral notes, but the finish just left it feeling flat to me. I seriously thought that an 18 year whiskey would have more character than this. Maybe it does, down deep in there and it might take a couple of glasses to really find a hidden gem. For me though, I couldn’t find them. I wouldn’t buy this bottle if I came across it on the shelves, well I take that back. I would buy it, and then I’d sell it to one of my brothers on r/bourbon on reddit. For some reason I just couldn’t get jazzed about this whiskey. I really wanted to, but it left me constantly wanting more out of it.