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Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2015: What To Know

It is a rite of passage each fall for many of the major American bourbon brands to release their limited edition bottlings, which are eagerly snapped up by buyers at prices which are often way over retail. For Buffalo Trace, this means the 2015 version of its Antique Collection has just been announced.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
image via Buffalo Trace

In general, all of these whiskies are available in very limited numbers, starting in late September or early October, and are supposed to price for around $80 each. As we did with coverage of this last year, here’s word on each bourbon directly from the distillery (note I’ve highlighted in bold things to pay attention for with each of these releases):

George T. Stagg (Find a bottle of George T. Stagg online for sale, if you are lucky.)

The powerhouse favorite of the Antique Collection, the 2015 George T. Stagg weighs in at 138.2 proof this year.  Past releases of this uncut and unfiltered bourbon won many top awards, including twice named the number one spirit in the world by F. Paul Pacult’s The Spirit Journal. This year’s release contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2000. This batch contained 128 barrels, a similar size batch as in previous years. Unfortunately these barrels yielded very little whiskey. Some of the barrels were nearly empty, containing only 1 or 2 gallons. Storage location of these barrels varied across a number of warehouses and several floors, but 84% of the original whiskey was lost to evaporation (or some very greedy angels!). Finding a bottle this fall will be harder than ever.

This whiskey tastes of expresso, molasses, chocolate, vanilla, and dates.

William Larue Weller (Find a bottle of William Larue Weller online for sale, if you are lucky.)

The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. Previous editions of this wheater have won many accolades, including the Second Finest Whiskey in the World by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015 edition. The 2015 offering was distilled in the spring of 2003 and aged on the second and sixth floors of Warehouses I, K, and L.  This bourbon registers in at 134.6 proof – one of the stronger Weller releases. 

The bold flavors include toffee, nougat, and figs.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye (Find a bottle of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye online for sale, if you are lucky.)

Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2014 edition was named “World’s Best American Whiskey” at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards.  This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2009; aged on the fourth and seventh floors of Warehouses I, K, and M, and weighs in at 126.9 proof.

The flavor has been described as fig, clove, and allspice.

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old (Find a bottle of Eagle Rare 17 Year Old online for sale, if you are lucky.)

The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Gold Medal at the 2014 International Wine and Spirits Competition. The 2015 edition has been aging on the first, second and third floors of Warehouses Q and I.

This bourbon was aged for seventeen years and tastes of oak, tobacco, and dates.

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old (Find a bottle of Sazerac 18 Year Old online for sale, if you are lucky.)

Last year Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named the third finest whiskey in the world by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015 edition, and American Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate Magazine.  This 2015 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of molasses and allspice, with a long, dry finish.  Several years ago, barrels of fully matured Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old were put into a stainless steel tank at Buffalo Trace Distillery to prevent further aging. Since then, whiskey has been drawn each year for bottling.  This is the last edition of Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old from that tank.

Next year’s batch will be comprised of whiskey that is currently aging in barrels filled in April 1998 and subsequent releases will contain barrels filled in 1999 and so on.

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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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