FRANKFORT, Ky.—Get your tents, flasks and MREs handy for the line waiting to come: Buffalo Trace Distillery announced its annual Antique Collection (a.k.a. “BTAC”) releases will begin trickling into stores in September through early October.
According to a news release, the highly anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Two notable changes are: Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon will now be 101 proof; and Stagg will proof well below its robust 140-ish standard.
George T. Stagg: The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection will come it at 124.9 proof this year (close to 20 proof lower than usual. Heck, that’s even lower than some releases of Stagg Jr. To be fair, proof isn’t always the greatest determiner of flavor or texture, so we’ll trust BT is making a good decision.)
This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2003. That batch contained 284 barrels, less than last year’s yield, but still significantly more than the yield from previous years. Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses C, H, I, K, P, and Q. This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, espresso, and tobacco.
William Larue Weller: This is the BTAC unfiltered wheated bourbon. The 2018 offering was distilled in the winter of 2006 and aged in Warehouses C, I, K, L, M, and Q. This bourbon registers in at 125.7 proof. The bold flavors include dried fruit, fig, and caramelized vanilla.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye: BTAC’s uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey, this year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2012; aged in warehouses I and L and clocks in at 128.8 proof. The flavor profile includes hints of allspice, teaberry, and clove.
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old: This year’s release returns to its roots with a proof change from 90 proof to 101. The distillery says this is a “tribute to the original strength used when the brand was launched in 1974.” This will be a permanent proof change going forward. The 2018 edition was distilled in the spring of 2000 and aged on the first, second and fifth floors of Warehouse C. This bourbon tastes of toasted oak, coffee, spearmint, and butterscotch.
Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old: Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named “Best Rye Whiskey Aged 11 Years and Over” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. This 2018 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of dark chocolate, tobacco, and cinnamon. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 1998. (BT didn’t supply details of where it was aged.)
The 2018 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities for the suggested retail price of $99 each. Anyone who pays that little, please email me so we can praise the retailer publicly.
For more information from the distillery, click here.