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Bourserker

Sazerac 18...I don't get it

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Bourserker

I was able to obtain a couple of these back around the 2013-2014 time frame before they became impossible to find.  I finally cracked one open earlier this year and have sipped my way through the entire bottle.  At the risk of getting cyber-beaten (:P), I just don't get it.  I really love ryes, but I just didn't get into the Saz 18.  Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it didn't blow my socks off or anything.  It may be the age.  In my short stint of being an "aficionado" of finer whiskies and such, my palette seems to prefer younger stuff in the 4 - 12 year range.  Most ryes I have really liked were in the 6 year range with Thomas Handy being my favorite by a margin.  So anyway, don't have much of a point here other than Saz 18 didn't do much for me.  Anyone else have this happen?

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MDBourbon

Oh yeah the inter webs are coming for you ! :)

 

Did it taste pretty even ,over your year long sipping? or were some experiences better/worse than others?

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jinenjo

With few exceptions, any whiskey older than a dozen or so years was absolutely unheard of in the mid-20th century. Some might argue that whiskey isn't ever supposed to be in the barrel for close to 20 years. Ultra-aged rye or bourbon is a different animal for sure. Sounds like it's just not your thing. YMMV

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heydobro

I've been a big fan of Saz 18, but with it's limited availability I've enjoyed High West Rendezvous Rye as an affordable, available replacement.  Since it's a mix of 16 and 6 year Ryes it has some aged stock in it, even if it isn't as good as Saz

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chasking

I happen to like it, but, it's not he be-all end-all of rye whiskey.  It's just one version.  If you don't care for it, just be glad your favorite turned out not to be the hard-to-find and very expensive unicorn rye.

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amg

I think it's a nice rye, with lots of old whiskey notes without being overoaked, and a decent amount of herbs and spice still shining through. Proof is maybe a bit low and it doesn't punch you in the face like some younger barrel proofers do, but it's a nice occasional pour when you want something a little different.

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Bourserker
On 12/24/2015, 8:27:37, MDBourbon said:

Oh yeah the inter webs are coming for you ! :)

 

Did it taste pretty even ,over your year long sipping? or were some experiences better/worse than others?

Yeah, it stayed fairly even.  It just tasted one dimensional and kinda bland to me.  I had a couple of pours that I remember being a little better than others, but it never wowed me.  I think I drank it slowly over a several month period, so I had a good "data set".

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Bourserker
On 12/25/2015, 8:18:32, heydobro said:

I've been a big fan of Saz 18, but with it's limited availability I've enjoyed High West Rendezvous Rye as an affordable, available replacement.  Since it's a mix of 16 and 6 year Ryes it has some aged stock in it, even if it isn't as good as Saz

Yeah High West Rendezvous is probably one of if not my favorite rye, and I can actually find it on the shelf.  For me it has that bubble gum flavor in it that I've read about, and I absolutely love that.

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PaulO

I think the broader question is, if you spend a lot for something and or have to search really hard to find it, does that mean you will enjoy it an order of magnitude that represents your money or effort?  I would say not necessarily. ;)

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tanstaafl2
38 minutes ago, PaulO said:

I think the broader question is, if you spend a lot for something and or have to search really hard to find it, does that mean you will enjoy it an order of magnitude that represents your money or effort?  I would say not necessarily. ;)

And if you put up several in a blind side by side, especially against some reasonable competition, I think the odds that you will enjoy it an order of magnitude more are likely to go down precipitously!

Which is not to say I don't like my Saz18! :lol:

Edited by tanstaafl2

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MDBourbon
10 hours ago, Bourserker said:

Yeah, it stayed fairly even.  It just tasted one dimensional and kinda bland to me.  I had a couple of pours that I remember being a little better than others, but it never wowed me.  I think I drank it slowly over a several month period, so I had a good "data set".

Gotcha.  I was just curious. It's always curious when I try one those "must haves" and they fizzle for me. Thanks for sharing.

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amg
13 hours ago, MDBourbon said:

Gotcha.  I was just curious. It's always curious when I try one those "must haves" and they fizzle for me. Thanks for sharing.

If everyone liked the same things it would be pretty boring.

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MDBourbon
1 hour ago, amg said:

If everyone liked the same things it would be pretty boring.

and I'd have to start eating mustard, hate it.

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smokinjoe

This is a prime example why many here on SB ignore requests for information from folks asking if they should purchase a particular bottle, and instead, advise them to buy and try on their own.  Only your own palate and preferences can tell you what is good or recommended.  Everyone else's opinions and ratings are really irrelevant. 

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s8ist

When I got to try a BTAC flight, I found that I was also not impressed by Saz 18.  THH beat it hands down, and my understanding is that THH is nowhere near as old, FWIW.

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tanstaafl2
33 minutes ago, s8ist said:

When I got to try a BTAC flight, I found that I was also not impressed by Saz 18.  THH beat it hands down, and my understanding is that THH is nowhere near as old, FWIW.

THH is generally about 6 years old (basically a cask strength version of the BT Sazerac Rye sometimes referred to as "baby Saz". They are, at least until this year, whiskey from 2 different distilleries and Saz 18 is of course at least 18yo.

It is also worth noting that Saz 18, which was last distilled in the early/mid 1980's, has also been kept in steel tanks for a number of years to keep it from aging in the barrel any more (since about 2006 according to this post from John Hansell) and some have felt that tanking has made it less "crisp" with time or at least a little different. I have not noticed it changing that much over the past 3-4 years but then again I have also not had the Saz 18 from a decade or more ago before it hit the tank.

Edited by tanstaafl2

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GaryT

I had a similar experience.  My first/last/only bottle of Saz 18 was OK, but just didn't blow me away.  I picked THH over it every time.  I put several 2oz samples aside so I can see if my palate "evolves" in the future (speaking of which . . . that was probably 2 yrs ago or so . . . might have to go find one!)  I do tend to like higher proof ryes, but I absolutely loved my similarly proofed BMH 18yr (same age too!)  I think Joe nailed it - we like what we like, and ain't nuthin' wrong with that!  My recommendation would be to set some aside and revisit it in a few years - maybe you'll like it more!  (I'll let you know if that helped me!)

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GaryT
12 hours ago, darylld911 said:

I had a similar experience.  My first/last/only bottle of Saz 18 was OK, but just didn't blow me away.  I picked THH over it every time.  I put several 2oz samples aside so I can see if my palate "evolves" in the future (speaking of which . . . that was probably 2 yrs ago or so . . . might have to go find one!)  I do tend to like higher proof ryes, but I absolutely loved my similarly proofed BMH 18yr (same age too!)  I think Joe nailed it - we like what we like, and ain't nuthin' wrong with that!  My recommendation would be to set some aside and revisit it in a few years - maybe you'll like it more!  (I'll let you know if that helped me!)

Well - I dug up one of my 2oz samples of Saz 18 (from Fall 2011), and poured an ounce last night.  This was after a couple of pours, but it was absolutely better than I remember it being!  And as I know the whiskey ain't changed in that time, it isn't any better really - but rather my preference has changed in the last 3-4 yrs.  Although, I followed that with a short pour of THH, and while I enjoyed the Saz 18 more than I did when I opened the bottle - I still enjoyed the THH more.  With some exceptions, I've learned that bourbons/ryes over 15 yrs old just aren't right in my wheelhouse - and as many have stated, it is all about finding out what hits YOU right.  Setting it aside for a few years - might not change anything, just because it did for me.  But it also don't cost anything, so I would still give it a try.  Good luck!

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smokinpeace

I finally was able to find this at a bar for a no crazy price.  I was so excited to try it but found myself feeling the same as the OP.  I was good but nothing that will have me chasing it.   I have now tasted all of the BTAC and I will go for the WLW and Stagg every time.  I do enjoy them all but the others are not worth the price and effort to me.  

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dSculptor

I'm not a big fan of rye's to begin with, I do however like to try 'em when I can, however the Saz18 to me is exceptional, to me it doesn't have that heavy rye taste, say like the Baby saz or TH, or for that matter WT rye. Recently I was able to try the WR rye, that was pretty good also, probably 'cause it's not a 100% rye though. As said earlier - to each his own. 

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SebastianLloyd

You guys are making me sad that I passed up a THH with all the loving for it. I got the regular Saz a while back and was not impressed by it, so I thought Handy would be the same experience only stronger.

 I love Saz18, probably by favourite rye (Rittenhouse VERY close second).

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smokinjoe

When I think of Saz 18, and try and capture my impressions of it, it basically comes down to 4 things:

It's not my favorite rye.  Heck , I'm hard pressed in squeezing it into my Top 5.

But, once it's gone, it's gone. It's drinking a piece of history.

And, there really isn't anything remotely close to it profile-wise on the market.  

So 2&3 trump 1, and I buy it every chance I get .  

 

 

 

Edited by smokinjoe

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kcgumbohead
19 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

When I think of Saz 18, and try and capture my impressions of it, it basically comes down to 4 things:

It's not my favorite rye.  Heck , I'm hard pressed in squeezing it into my Top 5.

But, once it's gone, it's gone. It's drinking a piece of history.

And, there really isn't anything remotely close to it profile-wise on the market.  

So 2&3 trump 1, and I buy it every chance I get .  

We are always "drinking a piece of history" mostly to a lesser degree than with Saz18 but still one of the coolest aspects of bourbon. I often consider what was going on when I pour a dram whose age is known. Sometimes it enhances the experience, other times it's NAS time!!

19 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

 

 

 

One

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The Black Tot

Saz18 is a real treat. I've had the luck of finding a bottle from 2006 at a UK restaurant and so I've had the chance to sample a well-untanked version of it.

Look, I love THH too. And I'm excited about THH because there's no reason BT shouldn't be able to crank them out since it's only 6yrs old. It's frankly not right for a 6yr bottle to be in the BTAC at BTAC pricing. When I have a shot at the line, I'm never going to choose THH purely because THH is WAY easier/faster to make.

I like them both, but THH is bold and spicy, where Saz18 is syrupy and the finish goes on for a lifetime. If you don't like it, then great - puh-leeze leave it on the shelf for those of us who do, because for us, there aren't any alternatives.

In 10yrs, I think the present increase in rye distillation will give us some alternatives. But until then Saz18 is a wonderful blast from the past which I really respect. I have 3 bottles and I'm really going to treat them with the greatest respect, sharing them with people who will love it. It really is a national treasure.

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Vosgar

Saz 18 is tough to beat when I'm in the right frame of mind for it.....like tonight. To me it's one of those you can only really appreciate if you take the time to roll it around in your mouth and chew on it a little bit. Nice and thick with very refined flavors and as Paul said, a finish that goes on for a lifetime. I can't help but wonder if the issue some people have with it is that with it's age and fairly low abv it doesn't have the kick they're after. If you want a rye whiskey that's going to smack you upside the head, this isn't it.

I won't pay secondary market or obscene retail prices for it, but if I happen to come across any at a decent price (ha!) it's coming home with me

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