PDA

View Full Version : Sazerac 18/Van Winkle Rye



ErichPryde
12-22-2011, 18:26
Does anyone know at exactly what age Buffalo Trace tanked the Sazerac 18? Was it at 18 years old, or 19?

I'm curious because we know that BT is holding the rye whiskey for both the Saz 18 and VW Rye. According to the Van Winkles, the VW is 19. Also according to the Van Winkles, it's now a combination of Ryes that were produced by Bernheim and Medley. We also know that Buffalo Trace didn't have any of its OWN rye that old and that it came from another source (and I've been informed it wasn't part of the CoK rye stash....), most likely Medley (and possibly Bernheim????).

The Van Winkles have maintained that (as of 2005) the Rye is a 19 year old that has been tanked.

Finally, Buffalo Trace maintained in the recent past that they only had one rye tanked, the Saz 18.

So is it possible they are the "same" whiskey? I understand that they don't taste the same... and I'm not sure 5 proof points is enough to make up that difference. Perhaps BT let some of the barrels age to 19 years of age, and then didn't like the result so sold them???

Old Lamplighter
01-11-2012, 06:33
Whatever the age or provenance, Saz 18 has all but vanished in west TN joining VWFRR as non-existent on the retail level. Not 6-8 weeks ago, there was a pretty good scattering of it over my area of wandering. I mean, you did not see it in every store, but, it could be found without going too much out of one's way. I had seen bottles dated anywhere from the 2007 to the current edition. Now, none anywhere. I have not bought one in a while since I had a couple VWFRRs in the bunker and generally $20-25 less than Saz 18 when found.

I don't know if the NY Times article had anything to do with it, the Christmas season, or this forum. IMHO, this forum is much more a driving force than the NY Times. Of course, I don't hold a high opinion of what is termed "the mainstream media"....so, maybe the Old York Times is still somewhat viable.

Hershmeister
01-11-2012, 11:00
No expert at all but these two ryes taste very different. Can't imagine they're the same

LostBottle
01-11-2012, 13:10
No expert at all but these two ryes taste very different. Can't imagine they're the same

I 100% agree with this statement. Both phenomenal whiskeys.

Gillman
01-11-2012, 14:34
I wouldn't discount the NYT article, that journal does wield a lot of influence and the article did note the paucity of well-age rye.

As of a few weeks ago, Michter's 10 years old straight rye, which I think everyone accepts is at least 18 years old, was available at Park Avenue Liquors in New York City for $70.00 - a bargain.

Gary

Old Lamplighter
01-11-2012, 15:16
All this makes me want to go out and get the Ritt 21-23-25 that is out there near me as well as the BMH 18 I passed up yesterday...got to pay mortgage though. Next payday, I may start hoarding all the older aged stuff I can find - including a few more bourbons.

On second thought, maybe no home and a lot of old rye would be a trade-off worth considering. At least, I would make a lot of new friends out there in the street and we could stay warm a while.

LikeItWasSodaPop
01-11-2012, 17:04
I kvetch/bitch about this on another thread about ryes that lie about their age, but I think it important to note an important caveat to the esteemed Mr. Gillman's statement about Michter's 10 year rye: the older bottlings are certainly 18+/yo rye. But the new stuff is not much than a day older than 10 years. The former deserves its place alongside its hallowed brethren VWFRR and Saz 18 (I'd rank it under VWFRR and over Saz 18, personally), the later is a total rip-off.

So the game is finding out whether it's the old stuff or the new stuff.

As to the OP's original query: they don't taste like the same source to me.

To me, the real question is: does VWFRR disprove the "whiskey can't last in stainless" idea? My new bottles are as good, if not better than 08-09 bottles.

Gillman
01-12-2012, 08:01
The bottle I was referring to was the tear-dropped shaped one with a heavy base issued some years ago for both the 10 year rye and the bourbon. The one I got some weeks ago in NYC (rye) did seem bottled some years ago, the whiskey is heavy-bodied and quite dark with that caraway-dark butterscotch taste which many here will recall the whiskey had. Age under the regs can be understated but not overstated, and getting something apparently older than the stated age is almost always a good deal, especially with rye which to my mind can almost never be too old.

It sounds like a recent bottling is on the market with whiskey closer to the 10 year mark, I haven't tried that one yet.

All bottlings of any whiskey IMO, more so from NDPs but sometimes from distilleries themselves, change over time. Sometimes a whiskey is a better buy than at other times, even over a short period you can get a superlative bottle then an average one, etc...

I agree about current VWFRR, the bottles are superb, some of the best ever.

Gary

dohidied
01-15-2012, 17:04
All this makes me want to go out and get the Ritt 21-23-25 that is out there near me as well as the BMH 18 I passed up yesterday...got to pay mortgage though. Next payday, I may start hoarding all the older aged stuff I can find - including a few more bourbons.

On second thought, maybe no home and a lot of old rye would be a trade-off worth considering. At least, I would make a lot of new friends out there in the street and we could stay warm a while.

I would love to bunker some old ryes too. In the last week I've seen Ritt 25 and Rocky Mountain 21, but the high prices require a high level of certainty on my part that they're worth it to me.

Old Lamplighter
01-15-2012, 18:17
I would love to bunker some old ryes too. In the last week I've seen Ritt 25 and Rocky Mountain 21, but the high prices require a high level of certainty on my part that they're worth it to me.

Amen...I totally agree. I may have to work some OT to do it but I am determined at some point in time to start picking these up as regular as possible. I just hope I don't have to wait too long.

Virus_Of_Life
01-15-2012, 19:34
We also know that Buffalo Trace didn't have any of its OWN rye that old and that it came from another source (and I've been informed it wasn't part of the CoK rye stash....), most likely Medley (and possibly Bernheim????).




So is it possible they are the "same" whiskey? I understand that they don't taste the same... and I'm not sure 5 proof points is enough to make up that difference. Perhaps BT let some of the barrels age to 19 years of age, and then didn't like the result so sold them???
Not sure where you heard the first info, but I'd learned some time ago that the Saz18 was Bernheim aka CoK rye aka the first Rye that Willett bottled at the pushing of Dougdog. And Van Winkle was Medley rye, which then (IIRC at the "E" bottling) added some Bernheim distilled rye to lengthen the life of it. It's been so long since I learned this that I don't recall now where, possibly here in old posts somewhere, but as with anything it could be wrong. Either way, I am with others here in my firm belief that they are not the same. I have always believed the 'vatting' made the VW quite different from the Saz; furthermore that it was, to my tastes superior, and also quite different after the vatting than either Medley or Bernheim rye alone.

LostBottle
01-16-2012, 20:06
...the VW quite different from the Saz; furthermore that it was, to my tastes superior...

I swear I am the only person on earth, or at least these forums, that likes the Sazerac 18 more than the Van Winkle.

This evening, I revisited both in one sitting and it reconfirms that I could easily tell these two apart in a blind tasting. To me the difference is that the Sazerac seems 'more rye' than the Van Winkle. This is to say, I get more wood and pepper from the Saz where the VWFRR brings more sweetness, a more 'bourbony' profile, and more complexity. The Saz also seems a bit hotter to me despite the lower proof. My taste buds leave me guessing the Saz mashbill is a higher percentage of rye than the Van Winkle. The finish on the Van Winkle does last longer, but that finishing rye note on the Saz is nothing short of amazing and is perhaps my favorite finish ever. I prefer the Saz by a decent margin despite others describing it as too linear.

LostBottle
01-19-2012, 21:09
I just saw Jason Pyle's Sazerac 18 review on Sour Mash Manifesto (great, great blog by the way - do yourself a favor and check it out).

I am surprised it received 'only' a 9.4. The Rittenhouse was rated a 9.3 and the High West Rendevous Rye a 9.4. I am also surprised the Weller and Stagg ranked so much higher, Saz is usually the top scorer of the BTAC in others reviews.

timd
01-20-2012, 10:05
I swear I am the only person on earth, or at least these forums, that likes the Sazerac 18 more than the Van Winkle.


I'd hate to have to choose between them, to be honest - I love both equally, but for different reasons (essentially what you described in your tasting notes above). They fill different "needs" in my tastes.

However, as blasphemous as it may be, I'd say I actually prefer Vintage 21 to either Saz or VWFRR... it's just more... scrumptious. It's sweet, spicey, lots of wood, but plenty of rye. It's gradually surpassed the VWFRR as my fave.

That said - I think all three are stunners and worth collecting and keeping. I'd hate to be without any of them in my bunker.

chefnash51
01-25-2012, 12:16
However, as blasphemous as it may be, I'd say I actually prefer Vintage 21 to either Saz or VWFRR... it's just more... scrumptious. It's sweet, spicey, lots of wood, but plenty of rye. It's gradually surpassed the VWFRR as my fave.

I would put Vintage 21 up there as well.. if I had to pick one.. it very well might be the Vintage 21 as well. Explodes with taste

RWBadley
01-25-2012, 13:51
I'd hate to have to choose between them, to be honest - I love both equally, but for different reasons (essentially what you described in your tasting notes above). They fill different "needs" in my tastes.

However, as blasphemous as it may be, I'd say I actually prefer Vintage 21 to either Saz or VWFRR... it's just more... scrumptious. It's sweet, spicey, lots of wood, but plenty of rye. It's gradually surpassed the VWFRR as my fave.

That said - I think all three are stunners and worth collecting and keeping. I'd hate to be without any of them in my bunker.

I agree Tim. After trying several times just to make sure :lol: I really think the V21 is right up there. I also enjoy the High West 21- different stuff, but man is it good.

Cheers,

RW

c2walker
01-25-2012, 15:57
I've found that rarely does anything in life live up to immense hype. This thread prompted me to give Saz 18 a try and I'm speechless. Easily the best rye I've ever had. I'd like to see it at a slighter higher proof, but it's damn near perfection as is. Given that VWFRR seems to be preferred over the Saz 18 here, I'm now on a quest to hunt it down.

On a side note, the bar I got the Saz 18 at had it for $10 per ounce. Pricey, but worth the splurge IMO. What I found odd, however, was the Whistlepig listed at $13 per ounce. Am I missing something there? Even at the same price I'd take Saz every single time.

White Dog
01-25-2012, 16:50
I've found that rarely does anything in life live up to immense hype. This thread prompted me to give Saz 18 a try and I'm speechless. Easily the best rye I've ever had. I'd like to see it at a slighter higher proof, but it's damn near perfection as is. Given that VWFRR seems to be preferred over the Saz 18 here, I'm now on a quest to hunt it down.

On a side note, the bar I got the Saz 18 at had it for $10 per ounce. Pricey, but worth the splurge IMO. What I found odd, however, was the Whistlepig listed at $13 per ounce. Am I missing something there? Even at the same price I'd take Saz every single time.

If Saz 18 left you speechless, wait until you get your hands on a VWFRR.:bowdown:

yountvillewjs
01-25-2012, 17:35
If Saz 18 left you speechless, wait until you get your hands on a VWFRR.:bowdown:

Posts like these make me want to make poor, expensive eBay based decisions.

Old Lamplighter
01-25-2012, 18:10
Posts like these make me want to make poor, expensive eBay based decisions.

Resist...there will be more coming down the road...several years left before it gets shifted to BT juice...never give up the search.

LostBottle
01-25-2012, 20:21
This thread prompted me to give Saz 18 a try and I'm speechless. Easily the best rye I've ever had. I'd like to see it at a slighter higher proof, but it's damn near perfection as is. Given that VWFRR seems to be preferred over the Saz 18 here, I'm now on a quest to hunt it down.

Welcome to the rye side, now the frustrating part is trying to get your hands on a bottle (at a decent price anyway). If you have a chance to try the VWFRR, please post here as I find it very interesting to hear which people prefer and why.

On a different note, is it confirmed that 2005 Saz was not tanked and 2006 beyond was?

woodisgood
01-25-2012, 20:25
I love Winkle rye and Saz 18 equally, both are simply delicious and required bottles in my household. If I had to break it down, though, for me: The nose on the Saz 18 is exquisite; the finish of Winkle rye is stunning.

I hate talkin' trash about Saz 18, because it's just so dang drinkable. But, I agree, it would be a total dream of a dram at a wee higher proof. (My only knock on the Winkle rye is it's such a pain to procure.)

Restaurant man
01-25-2012, 20:25
My sentiments exactly. I really like the saz 18. It is definitely special and very hard to come by. Vwfr is my favorite beverage ever (so far) just get one at any price and then wait till your connections pan out for more.

tommyboy38
01-25-2012, 20:43
It's been quite a while since I've opened a Saz18. I may have to do a head to head against the VWFRR (which is probably my favorite whiskey...bourbon or rye) I may throw some Michter's single barrel in there also to keep things interesting.

CaptainQ
01-25-2012, 20:55
It's been quite a while since I've opened a Saz18. I may have to do a head to head against the VWFRR (which is probably my favorite whiskey...bourbon or rye) I may throw some Michter's single barrel in there also to keep things interesting.

Now that would be one helluva tasting Tom. Let me know when and where.:grin:

timd
01-26-2012, 15:13
It's been quite a while since I've opened a Saz18. I may have to do a head to head against the VWFRR (which is probably my favorite whiskey...bourbon or rye) I may throw some Michter's single barrel in there also to keep things interesting.
We've done a few different runs with various letters of VWFRR (A, B & G) along with last 3 year's Saz 18s up against Vintage Rye 21 (we included some younger ryes, which were good, but not nearly as exquisite as these).

Bottom line: All three are amazing. There ARE differences between various letters on the VWFRR bottles, but they aren't better/worse - just some differences.

Which wins? It would depends who you asked - but one of those three is at the top of almost everybody's "best" list. There are more scare bottlings of even older, barrel strength ryes that I've yet to taste... but working on it!

FWIW: I also love THH - there are times I actually prefer it to these older more matured ryes.

tommyboy38
01-27-2012, 20:49
I've noticed some differences in the VWFRR (A v. B) and always preferred the "A" bottling until lately where the A seemed a bit flat and "B" had more stuff going on. This will definitely require more research.

Old Lamplighter
01-28-2012, 06:45
I've noticed some differences in the VWFRR (A v. B) and always preferred the "A" bottling until lately where the A seemed a bit flat and "B" had more stuff going on. This will definitely require more research.

Definitely....and, if you need any help at all....I'm just sayin...if you need hep, hear i am!