Reviews #181-185: 2019 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

I tried to taste all of last year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection but never tracked down the Saz 18 so this year I jumped on it as soon as they dropped in Austin. I hit drink.well, Nickel City, Moonshine and my home bar to try everything and while it wasn’t cheap I do think it was worth it.

I drank William Larue first at drink.well, then tried the Eagle Rare 17 at Nickel City, did a side by side of the Thomas Handy Sazerac and Sazerac 18 at Moonshine and then wrapped this adventure up with my shiny new bottle of ‘19 George T Stagg.

The reviews are in the order I tasted them so let’s get to it.

William Larue Weller

Age: 12 years 6 months

Abv: 128 proof

Neat

Nose: Sweet and inviting with caramel, cherry and chocolate notes

Taste: Amazingly rich, sweet and complex with spice and oak and cherry and caramel and chocolate notes. Very viscous mouthfeel, best of the bunch.

Finish: Extremely long, spicier than I expected, and with more of all the good notes from the taste

10 - an all time favorite, must buy/hunt

Eagle Rare 17

Age: 17 years 3 months

Abv: 101 proof

Neat

Nose: Sweet and earthy with big caramel and oak notes and smaller vanilla and warm spice notes.

Taste: Earthy, leathery, spicy and sweet all at once with warm spice, oak, caramel, vanilla and leather notes.

Finish: Long sweet and oaky.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Sazerac 18

Age: 18 years 4 months

Abv: 90 proof

Neat

Nose: Soft with herbal, floral, spice and leather notes

Taste: Warm, herbal and spicy notes with subtler oak and vanilla notes. A disappointingly thin mouthfeel

Finish: Medium length with spicy and herbal notes with a distinct mintiness

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar

Thomas Handy Sazerac

Age: 6 years 2 months

Abv: 125.7 proof

Neat

Nose: A strong nose with sweet vanilla, potent herbs and rye spice notes

Taste: Very spicy with rye spice, cinnamon and a surprising chocolate note. Excellent mouthfeel, about as good as WLW

Finish: Very long and a somewhat hot with more cinnamon and rye spice

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar

George T Stagg

Age: 15 years 3 months

Abv: 116.9 proof

Neat

Nose: Caramel, cherries and warm spice notes

Taste: Caramel, cherry, rich oak, warm baking spice and sweet vanilla notes. Excellent, viscous mouthfeel.

Finish: Long finish with cherry and baking spice notes

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Conclusion

I really enjoyed all 3 of bourbons this year. The WLW is absolutely phenomenal and a step up from last year. Definitely one of my favorite releases this year and easily the best of the antique collection for me. The Eagle Rare 17 was everything I liked about regular 10 year Eagle Rare dialed way up, especially the oak and earthy notes. The low proof Stagg was also excellent. It absolutely nailed the classic bourbon profile, was loaded with flavor and wasn’t as challenging as previous years.

The rye’s weren’t for my favorites this year. I feel like the Handy was too young and harsh and the Saz 18 was maybe a little too old and definitely underproofed. That said I enjoyed drinking both of them and the Handy was noticeably better with a little water.

TL;DR: WLW > GTS > ER17 >> Saz18 > THH; the bourbons were great the ryes weren’t my favorite

I still need to taste this year’s Wizard and 20 year but the Pappy version of this is up next. I’m also going to do a blind of Stagg Jr Batch 12, ‘19 GTS and ‘19 EHT BP to see if the GTS is really the king of this year’s mashbill 1 releases.

Scale

You can also follow me on Instagram(@atxbourbon) or reddit to keep up with these reviews and my other whiskey-centric adventures.