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ibuythe4
12-12-2001, 10:29
Can anyone put me in touch with a history of Eagle Rare? I know that there was a change in ownership of the distillery, and that the brand is owned by Sazerac in New Orleans. Do they actually still produce Eage Rare? What's the past and present of this bourbon?

cowdery
12-12-2001, 15:06
I suggest you use the site's Search function (top navigation bar, next to "Main Index") to find past references to Eagle Rare. You're liable to find a wealth of information.

Eagle Rare and Benchmark were originally Seagram's products, introduced in the early-to-mid 1970s, making them probably the last new bourbon brands of that era. New bourbon brands wouldn't start to be introduced again until end of the 1980s, when Booker's and Blanton's first appeared. Sazerac acquired Eagle Rare and Benchmark from Seagram's in 1989. Sazerac's Kentucky distillery was then known as Ancient Age. Today they call it Buffalo Trace. They still make Eagle Rare, in a couple of different expressions.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

Gillman
03-08-2005, 05:17
Although this older post is headed Eagle Rare 10 yr. I want to ask if, based on the infomation Chuck gave, we can be fairly certain the current Eagle Rare 17 year old was manufactured by Seagram (though no doubt aged in the purlieus of Leestown). I tasted it briefly once but have not been able to find a bottle. I found its flavor quite unique. Jim Murray reviews an Eagle Rare 17 year old in his Whisky Bible, which seemed different from the current one I tasted. Murray's bottle was rich and full, his taste notes remind me of how Benchmark - another former Seagram brand - tasted in the 1970's. The current Eagle Rare 17 year old is leaner, elegant, but not reminiscent either of Buffalo Trace Distillery original labels such as Ancient Age, Buffalo Trace or Elmer T. Lee. Or Blanton (which brand is by the way said in Murray's book to be owned by a Japanese distilling company).

I should add if anything today reminds me of Benchmark as it was in the 1970's, it is the current Elmer T. Lee, it has that molasses-like richness.

Gary

Ken Weber
03-08-2005, 10:40
From my understanding, Eagle Rare 17 was distilled and aged by the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Gary Gayheart did the distillation, however, it was produced for Seagram. We simply purchased the stock that was residing in our warehouse.

Ken

Gillman
03-08-2005, 11:16
Neat!

Gary

cowdery
03-09-2005, 12:29
The information Mark Brown gave me (which is consistent with what Ken says) is that Eagle Rare 17 comes from Buffalo Trace's existing inventory of their "rye mash bourbon #2." My records indicate that Seagram's sold the Eagle Rare and Benchmark brands to Sazerac (parent company of Buffalo Trace) in 1989.

Prior to its sale of those brands, Seagrams had closed all of its Kentucky distilleries except Four Roses, so it makes sense that they were having someone else produce whiskey for them, although that's something I didn't know until now. I knew it was whiskey that had been made at what is now BT, but didn't know it had been made as Eagle Rare.

When Ken says "us" he means the distillery, even though it was under different ownership at the time.

In 1992, Takara Shuzo Co. bought Age International, which owned the distillery now known as Buffalo Trace. In conjunction with that sale, Sazerac signed a distribution and marketing agreement with Takara, to distribute all of Age's brands (which included Ancient Age and Blanton's) in the US. Sazerac subsequently purchased the distillery. So, when the current Eagle Rare 17 year old was made, the distillery was owned by Age International, which was a privately held corporation headed by a guy named Ferdie Falk.

musher
03-09-2005, 13:10
Aren't Takara Shuzo and Age International still involved with Buffalo Trace, Takara Shuzo being the owner of Blanton's and Age International?

wrbriggs
03-09-2005, 13:33
Aren't Takara Shuzo and Age International still involved with Buffalo Trace, Takara Shuzo being the owner of Blanton's and Age International?


I've heard that the Japanese still own the Blanton's brand, but I don't know anything beyond that. Jim Murray mentions it in his 2004 Whiskey Bible.

Ken Weber
03-09-2005, 14:30
They are still associated with the Buffalo Trace Distillery. They own the label for Blanton's and we own the bourbon. We have a contract to supply the whiskey.

Ken

cowdery
03-09-2005, 16:59
I don't believe Age International exists anymore in any form. Their assets were all bought either by Sazerac or Takara.

cowdery
03-09-2005, 17:31
I came across this additional information. In January 1983, Schenley sold the plant we now know as Buffalo Trace, along with the whiskey inventory and some brands (primarily Ancient Age), to Ferdie A. Falk and Robert C. Baranaskas. They called their company Age International.

musher
03-09-2005, 19:13
Check out www.blantonsbourbon.com (http://www.blantonsbourbon.com) (Copyright 2004, Age International, Inc. All Rights Reserved). Age International apparently still exists as an entity of Takara, or at least they like to keep using the name (dba?).

cowdery
03-10-2005, 11:24
Yeah, I'm sure it's just a dba. Most of the names in bourbon history--more glorious than Age International, to be sure--live on in dba form. Heaven Hill has dozens, as do most of the distilleries. In this case, you also have to figure they don't want the name of a Japanese company too prominent on a bourbon, at least not for the American audience. (Nothing against the Japanese, just any taint of foreign ownership.)

Did you notice the review by our own Greg Kitzmiller?

halpap
03-14-2005, 17:17
Is this why the higher proof versions of Blanton's are not available in the states, i.e., the Japanese control the marketing of the product? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Bourbaki_Bourbon
03-15-2005, 15:14
What does dba stand for?

jeff
03-15-2005, 15:36
"Doing business as"

cowdery
03-15-2005, 16:25
A dba ('doing business as') name is also known as an assumed business name. In some cases, simple registration of the name with some local licensing authority is all that is necessary for you to put the name on your checking account, for example (so you can cash checks written to that entity). In the case of the distilleries it's a little more formal. The names are registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State's office so anyone who chooses to do a little research can trace them back to the "real" company. It used to be customary to hang a sign outside the distillery when you were "operating as" the assumed name company. Now it's mostly a bookeeping thing, but it does permit Heaven Hill to put "Old Evan Williams Distillery" on Evan Williams bourbon, and not mention Heaven Hill anywhere. It's like a subsidiary except the subsidiary's only asset is the name itself. DBA names are not unique to the whiskey business. Lots of businesses use them.

Ken Weber
03-17-2005, 15:01
Not really. We control the marketing in the U.S. We are currently so tight on all of our whiskey brands that we are not in a position to introduce the various proofs seen in Japan. In addition, by producing a single proof in the states, we can limit the amount of goods parallel shipped into Japan.

Ken