"everybody defamates from miles away
but face to face
they haven't got a thing to say"
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.
Last edited by LostBottle; 01-16-2012 at 22:53.
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.
Last edited by LostBottle; 01-19-2012 at 22:13.
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'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.