The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2022 set has arrived from Buffalo Trace, complete with the return of the George T. Stagg bourbon that was missing last year due to not meeting standards for that brand.
The five ensemble members of the Antique Collection, according to those behind it, are George T. Stagg Bourbon, William Larue Weller Bourbon, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon and Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Whiskey. These whiskies utilize three distinct mash bills, or recipes, from Buffalo Trace Distillery: rye mash bill #1, wheat mash bill and straight rye mash bill.
Full official details on each are below.
George T. Stagg Bourbon
Created in 2002 at the request of a fan for a well-aged and barrel strength whiskey, George T. Stagg bourbon is well respected amongst bourbon connoisseurs and spirit judges. This year’s offering was distilled in the spring of 2007, making it 15 years and 5 months old at bottling. The proof is 138.7, the highest proof for this whiskey in the past six years. This year’s barrels were aged in warehouse K. Tasting notes for this bourbon call out toasted pecan and chocolate sauce on the nose, a rich blend of baking spice, vanilla and cherry pie on the palate, and a robust finish of black coffee, molasses and oak.
William Larue Weller Bourbon
The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. The previous release of this wheated bourbon was honored with a Double Gold medal at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 2022 release was distilled in the spring of 2010 and barrels were aged in warehouses C, K and N. This bourbon registers at 124.7 proof. A nose of toasted coconut, butterscotch and caramel, followed by a touch of mint, dark cherry and molasses on the palate and a full-bodied finish with hints of leather, nutmeg, toffee and vanilla can be found in this year’s offering.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. Last year’s release earned 97 points and was named in the top 100 spirits by judges at the 2022 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2016; aged in warehouses I, L and M and weighs in at a hearty 130.9 proof, the highest proof for this whiskey since 2012. The flavor profile includes a nose with floral notes, anise, marmalade and meringue, followed by a palate with baking spice, a burst of orange peel and subtle dark chocolate, and a long finish of cinnamon, praline and candied orange.
Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon
This 101-proof whiskey was distilled in the spring of 2005 and barrels were aged in warehouses H, K and L. The 2021 Eagle Rare release was honored with the Chairman’s Trophy at the 2022 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. This bourbon has a nose with a hint of tobacco, chocolate covered cherries and a touch of oak, followed by caramel, vanilla bean, dark chocolate and oak on the palate and a full-bodied finish with baking spice, vanilla and butterscotch.
Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Whiskey
Previous releases of Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old were named in the top three finest whiskeys in the world by the “Whisky Bible.” This 2022 straight rye whiskey release has a nose of orange peel, lemon zest and molasses, a palate with a bold blend of black pepper, coriander seeds and maple syrup, and a well-rounded finish with mint, tobacco leaf and oak. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 2003 and 2004 and rested in warehouses K, M and P. It is bottled at 90 proof.
Buffalo Trace noted as well that “bottles should be available at retail starting early to mid-November. Suggested retail pricing is $99 each, state taxes will vary per market.” Of course, the reality of actually finding these whiskeys at that price is rare.
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Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief 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...