Booze Review

Whiskey Review – Eagle Rare 17 – Fall 2010 Bottling

The Eagle Rare 17 is part of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, which also includes the Sazerac Rye 18 (45% ABV), George T. Stagg Bourbon (71.5% ABV), William Larue Weller Bourbon (63.3% ABV), and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye (63.45% ABV). Compared to the other whiskies in this collection, the Eagle Rare 17, which has an ABV of “just” 45%, would appear to be a mild mannered whiskey.  Don’t let it’s relatively low ABV fool you. This whiskey is far from mild mannered!

  • Color: Crystal clear, deep, amber color. When you give it a swirl, the whiskey clings to the glass like a spider monkey. It eventually creeps down the sides, but it does so very slowly.
  • Aroma: Raisins. Maple Syrup. Vanilla. Burnt sugar. Faint aroma of dry sherry.
  • Taste: Exceptionally smooth with very little alcohol burn. The initial flavor is both sweet and spicy with hints of black pepper, cinnamon, and toffee. The finish is very long and dry. Hot cinnamon aftertaste which lingers for quite awhile.

During the 2010 Kipling Road WhiskyFest, I had the opportunity to do a vertical tasting of the Eagle Rare 10 and the Eagle Rare 17. There was a huge difference between these two whiskies! That extra 7 years in the barrel really tones down the sweetness and ramps up the spiciness. I believe Limpd and his Dad had a similar experience, and they too were impressed with the 17.

Please don’t misunderstand me, the Eagle Rare 10 is an excellent Bourbon, and at less than $30 bottle, it is also an exceptional value (I believe it is The Wookie’s go-to bourbon). I guess the question would be, is the Eagle Rare 17 worth $60? I can answer this question in just one word… ABSOLUTELY! If you like a bolder, spicier American whiskey, then the Eagle Rare 17 is definitely for you. It’s not easy to find, and since it’s a limited edition release, it sells out quickly (I waited almost a month to get this bottle in Philly), but if you happen to stumble upon it at your local wine and spirits shop, I highly recommend that you purchase a bottle. You won’t be disappointed.

6 replies »

  1. While I have found that the “brown” liquor is usually a little too potent for my palate, the Eagle Rare is the exception to that rule. At the ROK’s 2010 soiree and again in the confines of G-Lo dining room, I found the Eagle Rare 17 to be a truly drinkable whiskey. With or without water, with or without ice, the flavor is remarkable. And, I highly recommend a vertical tasting with the Eagle Rare 10 so that you can see for yourself how enjoyable, yet different the two are.


  2. I still prefer the Eagle Rare 10 over the 17. Maybe my expectations were too high but I expected the additional 7 years of aging and $30-35 to lead me to a spirit that wowed me and I was not wowed. I would still recommend trying it but I think the 17 lacks the key sweet notes that makes Bourbon what it is and is a bit heavy on the pepper and spice flavors.

    One counter view was voiced by one of the Brits that I work with when we tried this over dinner in NYC. He is a huge Scotch drinker and thought that the toned down sweetness was preferable. He loved it and described it as an American version of a sherry cask finished Scotch with a hint of “warming spice”.


    • And speaking of being wowed… no snarkiness from The Wookie! I am flabbergasted! That was an extremely well-balanced response. 🙂

      As far as the 17 vs. the 10, I can’t say that I have a preference. They are both excellent and well worth sampling, especially as a side by side tasting. I also like this duo because it totally goes against my recent thoughts about Single Malt vs. Bourbon, i.e. that Bourbon tends to have a more a narrow range of flavor variability. The 10 and the 17 are practically night and day!


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