Review: Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

New Charred Oak
~75% Corn, 10% Rye, 15% Malted Barley
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Again, late to the game here with an ex-age statement bourbon. Now, sadly, without one. However, I'll put up my review for the 10 year old - at some point, I hope, to taste the new NAS. Eagle Rare is a straight bourbon product of Buffalo Trace distillery, coming from the same mashbill as their flagship bourbon, Buffalo Trace. Eagle Rare is aged for 10 years, put in the barrel at 62.5%, and bottled as a single barrel product – thus, it’s flavour profile will be less consistent than that of a blended product. Consequently, you would expect ratings to vary from bottle to bottle. It is a lighter, softer, and more fruity brother to Buffalo Trace Bourbon with more citrus, and a bit less honey.

Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Vanilla, toffee and brown sugar comes first, followed with some caramel and oak. Quite a light nose – the rye doesn’t seem as present as in Buffalo Trace. There’s a fruitiness (dried fruit)- dried apple, apricot, dried orange peel, and raisins - and a touch of dusty rye is there too alongside cornmeal. The vanilla and caramel are lovely in the nose, along with the light fruit. As it sits, the rye does come out a bit more.

Taste: Soft, smooth and light sour citrus followed by a rush of corn and dried apricot before the oak begins to come in with the glowing rye spice. I was a bit let down, hoping the fruit and vanilla would come out better on the palate than they did, but unfortunately it was not so. There was, perhaps, more citrus than I expected from the nose at first- but as I went back I found the citrus indeed present in the nose.

Finish: The rye plays with the mouth for a bit and it dries out with some oak remaining. Some of the rye is a bit dull, unfortunately. But, the mouth tingles for a bit with the spice, which I quite like. There’s a touch of maple and lemon on the finish as well. Fills the mouth, and starts it watering for a bit more. Always what we like to see! It’s a hard one to mark – I love certain aspects a lot – the spice, the citrus, the dry-ness, but there are parts I don’t like – the stale and slightly bitter rye. There’s a bit of nice earthiness as well.

The nose, certainly, is great. But, I do wish for a bit more complexity and aggressiveness on the palate – it doesn’t demand my attention the way I wish it did and the way the nose suggests it might.

Value: Average, at $50.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: B1706109:284 REF IA5C VT 15C

  • Bottling Date: 2017

I’ve only ever reviewed two different barrels of Eagle Rare, and some people rave about it. I always preferred its sibling, Buffalo Trace, but thought I’d give it another go after the age statement moved to the back (probably en route to losing its age statement). The bourbon itself appears quite dark, showing it likely has some decent wood in it – or so I thought, until I realized the silver label is quite dark and makes the whisky look quite a bit darker by restricting the light. (But, still has some decent color.)

The nose is very nice – oaky, with lots of dried apricot, dried peach, prune, marshy corn, clove, spearmint, dried pineapple, pumperknickel bread, toasted walnuts, and a good kick of rye. The palate is rich, and very full – dried apricot, corn, confectioner’s sugar, caramel – but at the end there is a beautiful, rich, rye flurry. The finish continues on with rye, dried apricot, purne, oak, spearmint, and corn husks. Brilliant rye influence and integration, and elegantly tied together – significantly better than the other two Eagle Rare barrels I’ve had. The dried fruit is quite notable, also, in this barrel. A nice find!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $57.