View Full Version : This Years Sazerac 17yr.

02-03-2008, 23:38
As many of you are probably aware, Buffalo Trace released their "Antique Collection" a number of years ago, comprising this collection of the Eagle Rare 17yr, George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller bourbons and Thomas Handy and Sazerac ryes.

Last year, I happily drank from a number of the Saz18yrs and found them to be outstanding.

Last week, I opened up a new bottled of this years allotment of the Saz18, and gave a taste to some friends here at the bar after expressing my happiness with this whiskey. What I found though after tasting it quite surprised me. This years bottle was comparably flat next to what the other bottles tasted like. It is of course still delicious, but the body seemed to be a bit flat, and the finish just drifted away. This was quite a surprise.

Sure, every year, a whiskey is going to change a bit depending on a multitude of issues related to distilling and aging - but this rather drastic change from year to year surprised us.

I did not think much more about this, but a few days later, one of the fellows that came in that night told me that his friend got in touch with someone at Buffalo Trace to ask about this change and he was told that in fact, this was the same 18yr as the year before, not a new vintage. What he was told was that apparently Buffalo Trace had put the remaining casks into stainless steel. And, perhaps because there was a lot of air in the container, it seems that the rye had somewhat drifted in its taste from what it had previously tasted like when just in the oak.

This is rather interesting, is it not? I wonder how often something like this happens?

02-04-2008, 12:45
I wonder how often something like this happens?

Well it happened at least once before when Preiss tanked the Michter's 16 y/o.
Joe :usflag:

02-04-2008, 16:50
...Michter's 16 y/o...

...Which was bottled as the much-famed A.H. Hirsch 16yo. The lastest -- and biggest -- Hirsch 16 batch, the gold foil, is generally regarded (and I agree, for whatever that's worth) as much inferior to the blue- and gold-wax versions, both of which spent much less time, if any (in the blue's case), in steel instead of oak.

02-04-2008, 17:00
An aside, but in scanning news stories on whiskey in the late 1800's New York Times, I found one from about 1880 which described the largest ever whiskey auction, in Louisville. A dealer in whiskey was being wound up (liquidated) and the stock was put up for bids. Some of the bidders were mentioned, and one was "Simon Hirsch". I wonder if the Hirsch whose name is applied to the label of the Michter's-distilled bourbon mentioned by Tim (and numerous other whiskeys) is a descendant. Seeing the longevity of many families in some branch of the whiskey business, I would think the answer is yes. There was also a book published in the 1930's on distillation and spirits by an engineer with that surname, possibly also connected to the same family. Of the other bidders' names mentioned, I believe Ripon, and also Scharf, are known to whiskey historians, and some of the others may be too although I did not recognise them.


02-05-2008, 04:49
I don't know about the 2006 bottling in particular, but Sazerac '18' has definitely evolved over the years. When I first tried it 3 or 4 years ago, it was actually a 20yo. I think the 2007 bottling is a 22yo? I have a bottle open from about 3 years ago (that vintage, not that long) and while quite mature and rich, it still has life and vibrance to it. I find the 2007 bottling to taste a LOT older. I didn't like it at all. It will be most popular with those who really like the other 22yo ryes on the market lately. I think it is a shame some some/all of this rye was not tanked or bottled a few years ago when I think it peaked.

02-05-2008, 05:33
I think the 2007 bottling is a 22yo?

I had been wondering about this myself recently after being under that impression since I got the bottle. The other day I pulled out the fact sheet and noticed that, unlike the others, this sheet is missing the line which states the product age. Even the ER17 has this line, which reads 19 years despite the label itself, so I wonder how old it really is.
Whatever the age it definitely tastes "old" to me which is a good thing! After the initial post I've been more curious than ever to compare the one '06 bottle I have to my last '07.

02-05-2008, 13:07
According to Mark Brown and John Hansell (thru John Hansell's Malt Advocate site) all the remaining "old" rye at BT, was tanked at 18 years of age in 2005. The 2006 and 2007 releases came from these stainless tanks and now after being placed in smaller tanks will continue to be the source of Saz 18 for the next seven years until the currently produced rye ( now 11+ yrs old) becomes of age. Some of the earlier releases were older than 18 years but from 2005 forward, all were 18 yrs.

02-05-2008, 16:28
Interesting, the 2007 Sazerac fact sheet lists date of distillation and date of release. Nowhere does it mention date of dumping or whether it was in fact dumped earlier and stored in stainless.

The bottle I have open now is a 2004 release, which is 20 years old per the label notes.

The 2007 tastes a LOT older to me. So if they did indeed tank it at 18yo, then those barrels must have aged the most and had to be tanked to stay useful.

Just my opinion.