It’s that time of the year – changing leaves, cooler nights and the release of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s annual 2019 Antique Collection of whiskeys. The much anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what fans can expect:
George T. Stagg
The proverbial powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, George T. Stagg, comes in at a lower 116.9 proof this year. This is the lowest proof in this whiskey’s history. Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley cites barrels located on the lower warehouse floors as the reason. “Many of the barrels for this year’s Stagg composite were taken from the first floor of the warehouse. The first floor is cooler with higher humidity levels, therefore the alcohol evaporates faster than the water.” The taste, however, is still what Stagg fans can expect, vanilla and toasted oak with a floral undertone, followed by a long finish of cherries, coffee and black pepper. Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon have won many top awards, including last year’s release capturing the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Competition. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2004. Storage location of these barrels varied across warehouses C, H, I, K, and Q. The evaporation loss for this year’s batch was 56%, a bit higher than last year’s release.
William Larue Weller
The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including receiving 5 Stars – Highest recommendation by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal. The 2019 offering was distilled in the winter of 2007 and aged in Warehouse I. This bourbon registers in at 128 proof. The bold flavors include toasted vanilla and coffee.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. Last year’s release earned a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2013; aged in warehouses K, M, and N, and weighs in at 125.7 proof. The flavor profile includes creamy butterscotch and vanilla.
Eagle Rare 17 Year Old
Last year’s release went back to Eagle Rare’s roots with a proof change from the previous 90 proof back to 101 proof, in tribute to the original strength used when the brand was launched in 1974. The proof remains at 101 this year and will continue forward. The 2018 edition was awarded 92 points at the Ultimate Spirits Competition. This year’s release was distilled in the Spring of 2002 and has been spending its time aging on the first floor of Warehouse P. This bourbon tastes of cocoa, caramel, and oak.
Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old
The previous edition of Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named “Best Rye Whiskey Aged 11 Years and Over” by “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” This 2019 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of vanilla and maple syrup, with a finish of black pepper and spearmint. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 2001 and it rested on the second floor of Warehouses K and L. The Antique Collection was introduced more than a decade ago and has become a cult favorite among whiskey connoisseurs. Since 2000 these whiskeys have garnered numerous awards from such notable publications as Whisky Advocate Magazine, Spirit Journal, and “Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.” The 2019 Antique Collection whiskeys will be available in limited quantities starting in late September or early October.