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.