Eagle Rare Single Barrel Review

 

Eagle Rare Single Barrel Review

This particular single barrel of Eagle Rare was picked out by Valley Beverage Co. here in Los Angeles. They’re a little shop that has all kinds of hidden gems hanging out on the shelves and if you’re in the area I recommend stopping by. Their spirits buyer is a nice guy who definitely knows his whisk(e)y.

Originally a 101 proof ten year bourbon from Seagram that was introduced in 1975 Eagle Rare is a name that has gone through a lot of hands over the years, but in 1989 it found it’s current home with the Sazerac company which owns Buffalo Trace. Today Eagle Rare is being made along side Buffalo Trace and its 17 year version is included in the illustrious Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.

Eagle Rare Single Barrel Review

ABV: 45%
Price: $25
Age: 11 yrs 2 months
Distiller: Buffalo Trace

EYE
Mahogany

NOSE
Caramel, bourbon spice, dark fruit, butterscotch and raisins dominate the nose on this one. I’ve never smelled so much raisin in a glass of bourbon before. I like it and would love to dwell on it, but it’s quickly cut by rye, brown sugar, wood, molasses and just a hint of vanilla frosting.

TASTE
Deep rich caramel floats in with some dark fruit that comes across as meaty and ripe mixed with some cinnamon, brown sugar and honey. These flavors dominate the palate, but after a minute anise, a biscuit like quality, a slight corn and a bit of wood start to creep in and make themselves known. There is a crazy, but tasty combination happening here.

FINISH
Caramel quickly gives way to corn, dark fruit, wood and just a hint of mint.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Smooth and effortless it’s so easy to drink it’s almost silly.

OVERALL
Eagle Rare is a great bourbon. Valley Beverage Co. picked out one hell of a barrel. A bit sweeter than the traditional Eagle Rare it’s a good find and filled with complex dessert notes. Typically I’m not a a big fan of super sweet whiskey, but it works here. With just enough spice and biscuity grain notes to keep it from coming across as purely sweet there is an uneasy balance keeping everything in check. I know not everyone can get out to Valley Beverage Co. to snag a bottle of this, but it doesn’t matter. Go to your own local bottle shop and explore what they have to offer. You could be pleasantly surprised.

SCORE: 89/100

Eagle Rare Single Barrel
  • Nose - 88
  • Palate - 90
  • Finish - 89
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 89

Value

This is a single barrel of Eagle Rare, so your experience with single barrels might be different than mine, but but on the whole I'd say that Eagle Rare is a great value any day of the week.

 

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Eagle Rare Single Barrel: Empty Bottle Reflections (04-12-15 update)

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This deserves 2 more points; putting it within spitting distance of bourbon elite. Going through this bottle has been a true pleasure and it just kept getting better and better with each glass. As the bottle slowly drained the flavor got richer and more complex with deeper notes of caramel, cinnamon and dark fruit emerging as the last glass approached, and now here we are.

I remember my first bottle of Eagle Rare… I hated it. It was back in 2003 or 2004, before Buffalo Trace bough them, and it was far from my favorite dram. It was hot as hell and astringent to boot. In fact, this horrible experience is why it took me over 2 years to drink the bottle and why I avoided ever buying another until recently. It’s why I avoided it at all costs and decided that it was something better left for punch bowls and batch cocktails. I’m very happy to now say I no longer think this.

Reflecting on this last glass I can’t help but also reflect on my whiskey journey over the years. From the first glass of Jim Beam Choice I was forced to sit and sip my way through to the stunning glass of world class bourbon I’m sipping on now it’s been one hell of a journey. I’m not sorry to see this bottle go, but excited to see what comes next.

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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16 Responses to Eagle Rare Single Barrel Review

  1. […] I bring this up because I’ve seen, on more than 1 occasion, someone yelling something to the effect of “It’s old Stagg juice from Stitzel so it’s gotta be Pappy”. This is wrong on so many levels it makes my head hurt. For starters there’s the mashbill issue I already brought up. Secondly, they are two different distilleries and one has nothing to do with the other. Buffalo Trace (George T. Stagg distillery) currently makes Pappy and while Stitzel Weller used to make Pappy the last SW distilled juice found in a bottle of Pappy was last year’s (2014) 23 yr PVW. Lost Prophet is just older Eagle Rare. […]

  2. […] First released in 1975 as a competitor to Wild Turkey 101, Eagle Rare 101 was a staple of liquor store shelves until march 2005 when Sazerac, who acquired the brand it in march 1989, removed it from their lineup. Though it wasn’t gone for long and Sazerac reintroduced it as Eagle Rare 10 year single barrel bourbon bottled at 90 proof. The OB is no longer a single barrel whiskey, but is a very popular single barrel pick for stores. […]

  3. I love this one and completely agree with you. It’s possible that I’d rate it even higher given the chance but I’d say anywhere between the high 80s and low 90s is a fair review for this bourbon. I love the spiciness and sweetness, with the brown sugar and toasty notes overlaying the fruit flavors. Definitely one of my favorites and when I’m willing to shell out thirty bucks for a bottle, this is one of my go-tos. Sláinte!

  4. sir i enjoyed your review. thought there was a bit of marmalade on the finish. I did not hear any comparison with Buffalo Trace? The finish seems to be weak and lack body. All in all a nice SoCal review of this Brourbon.

    Thanks

    Chris

  5. I appreciate your review! As I have found myself more and more priced out by single malt scotch whiskeys especially the islays I have been on a mission to find something closer to home. Time was as a youngster I drank my fair share of US whiskeys and bourbons but that was more that 20 years ago and usually with Coke! Lol. Reading reviews and tasting what I can I have greatly enjoyed stumbling onto Eagle Rare. I find for my palate with just a splash of H2O it has an simple elegant ethereal slightly sweet nature that I greatly enjoy. So much so that I am willing overlook the wispy finish. This is my new fairly priced go to in the needing something to sip after a day on the river fly fishing. Again thank you for the review…

  6. Eagle Rare has been on my list for a while. Finally, I bought a bottle. I think this is delicious. The sweet, dark fruit notes are lovely. I do wish the finish was longer…hot, sweet, fruity.
    This is well worth trying. It is easily on my top ten easy to find whiskeys. ❤

  7. I haven’t yet had the single barrel, but I think eagle rare is delicious. I’m a big fan of buffalo trace (it’s what’s cool around here, lol), bulleit, and wild turkey 101. This sits nicely amongst them, and is a nice treat. definitely worth the ~$30 imo. great finish.

  8. I too have the regular release as I can’t find the Single Barrel and for the price point, it’s hard to beat…it’s a staple at the house… I have to find the Single Barrel now or, better yet, the elusive 17…

  9. I really enjoyed this bourbon. Good for sipping neat. Not as sweet or floral as some of the bourbons in its class. A couple teaspoons of water and a little air does it wonders.

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