There’s nothing like a nice drink after a long Saturday. My girlfriend and I recently purchased a house, and while she is at the beach I have been assembling new toys like a Lawn Mower, and installing blinds. I also went into work, so it has been a long day. Unwinding with a glass of Eagle Rare really hits the spot.
I can’t possibly write a review of this fine bourbon without acknowledging the giant who made it possible: Elmer T. Lee. Lee began working at the George T. Stagg Distillery in 1949 after serving the Air Force during World War II, and rose through the ranks to become the plant manager in 1969. In 1984, he introduced Blanton’s to the world, the first Single Barrel Bourbon in history. He continued to advise the distillery, which was renamed years later to Buffalo Trace. He passed away last week. If not for his innovations, single barrel bourbons like this might never have become popular as they are today.
Buffalo Trace is a great distillery. Owned by Sazerac, they churn out products including everything from Ancient Age to Blanton’s. They are also the producers of the highly sought after Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve. Eagle Rare is one of their more commonly available offerings.
Proof– 90, although not stated on bottle.
Aroma– Alcohol, Oak, and Honey.
Color– Light Amber.
Taste and Finish– One thing to keep in mind with Single Barrel Bourbons is that the taste may change substantially from one bottle to the next. Wefty also has a bottle of Eagle Rare 10 he will be reviewing, and I look forward to see how our bottles and tastes differ.
Neat, there is an Oaky burn and not much else to start. A bit of sour oak on the finish. As I continue to sip, it opens up more with of a honey note, but the burn doesn’t seem to go away. Now, to drop a ball of ice into the glass. Sourness grows, honey fades with the first sip. The burn subsides, but a solid bite remains. After some more ice melts, the sour oak turns to sweet oak, and ultimately leaves a finish of red berries. The fruity finish when the bourbon was fairly diluted caught me by surprise, and was quite pleasant. I find myself wanting to pour myself another glass, but I also intend to write another review tonight.
Neat, it has a decent bite that is not overpowered by burn. This is a good whiskey to drink neat. Throwing some ice into it, this bottle gave a very interesting oak progression, from sour oak to sweet oak to sweet oak with a fruit finish. Very enjoyable, very tasty. For the price point, I wouldn’t feel bad about mixing Eagle Rare with a soda, coke, or gingerale, although another less expensive one may fit the bill better. And at a decently high 90 proof, it should hold up against sodas pretty well.
In terms of strong-mixed drinks, I thought I would try a a new cocktail. Three blackberries muddled in equal parts Lemonade and Bourbon. This drink brought out the sourness of the oak, while the whiskey really masked the sweetness of the berries and lemonade. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this specific cocktail, I am thoroughly impressed with the potential to use Eagle Rare as a mixer for a strong drink like a Whiskey Sour or Julep.
Overall: Eagle Rare 10 is a solid bourbon worth having in any collection. It would also be interesting to compare several bottles side by side, as the single-barrel approach can produce a fair amount of variation. Things as simple as the positioning of the barrel in the barrel house can affect the final flavor, as minute temperature differences over 10 years can result in a very different result. But overall, I am quite impressed with Eagle Rare 10, and consider it to be a good buy for any bourbon fan.
For a second opinion, I recommend reading Josh Zollweg’s reviw.
PS- If you can’t find it locally, it is available from at least one online retailer.
|Never drink alone, but remember: Pets only count as company when your partner is out of town!