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
Age: 11 yrs 2 months
Distiller: Buffalo Trace
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eagle Rare Single Barrel
- Nose - 88
- Palate - 90
- Finish - 89
- Balance, Body & Feel - 89
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.
Eagle Rare Single Barrel: Empty Bottle Reflections (04-12-15 update)
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.