Review: Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Sazerac Rye 2.jpg
Virgin Charred Oak
Distiller Buffalo Trace (Frankfort, Kentucky)

Another Buffalo Trace product on allocation - generally quite hard to find, this is the younger (~6 yrs) version of the esteemed Sazerac 18 Years Old which is part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. In Ontario, they show up once or twice a year, but never last more than a week on the shelves.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Oak, dried fruit, and even a bit of menthol come off the nose. There are bananas and notes of cola as well. There are a few off-notes which smell a bit like stale grain to me. The oak is a bit mossy, and overall, though the influence is heavy, it is quite nice. Dried apricot, as I find so often with many straight whiskeys, is also distinctively present. Vanilla, as usual, is present – but it is not a prominent flavour and sits nicely in the background.

Taste: An oaky entrance, with some dried apricot and a caramel and peppery background, with a light star anise note. The spicy feel to it is very nice, though I do think the oak does dominate a bit too much and gives it quite a dry feel throughout. The rye is a bit candied, as it so often is with the caramel influence of new charred wood in straight rye. The peppery backdrop is very nice, though.

Finish: The oak comes through with some dried apricot and light vanilla, and some earthiness- it’s light after the taste but is quite enjoyable. It lasts quite well, and has a pleasant level of spiciness and sweetness for me. There’s also some nice lift with some minty notes, but the mossy and earthy oak holds its own brilliantly once all else has faded away.

This is very enjoyable, and is a solid choice for me when thinking of American rye. It is sharp, candied, and spicy, with a decent kick of oak influence.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $56.

Review (2020)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2019

Rich in caramel, grain, and all those complex rye notes – mint, fennel, orange peel, oak, clove, licorice root, vanilla, tasted cumin, white pepper, and dried apricot. As you can tell, just loaded with spices. The palate is sweet, rich, oaky with loads of spices and stone fruit – plums, fresh apricots – and maraschino cherries and dried apricot. The finish is spicy and full of dried fruit and sweet oak.

Excellent stuff!

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High at $60.