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?