The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection are some of the most sought after bourbons and ryes around. Sazerac is one of if not the most coveted of the ryes. Every year it is on my list of must haves (though it doesn’t seem to work out that way). Since I love rye and had never tried a Sazerac Rye, the curiosity was high.
When I first poured the 2014 Sazerac 18 year, I expected to get a strong whiff of spice. I was surprised when a gentle sweetness hit my nose. I let it sit and continued to sniff the Sazerac. The longer it was exposed to the air the more I started to pick up a charred brown sugar almost a molasses aroma. The only thing that kept it from being too sweet on the nose was the subtle smell of charred oak lingering in the background.
This was where is was totally surprised. I was hit almost immediately with how buttery it was. While there was still some sweetness, the rye started to take over. In the background there was hint of old leather and dry tobacco. While I was aware of the alcohol content it was not overpowering and was far smoother than I expected.
I have been disappointed in a few ryes and bourbons that had exceptional nose and palates. The final taste of wood and rye does not dissipate quickly. All three slowly fade away leaving an equal amount of spice, wood and sweetness while leaving no bitter aftertaste.
While not as spicy as I was expecting of an 18year old rye it was still extremely satisfying. I was unable to pick one scent or flavor distinctly over another. Despite the sweetness in the smell and taste, the rye presence tempers it. This is an exceptional rye or whiskey for that matter. This is a must for anyone’s bucket list.
You must try it, but I wouldn't say this is a must-have bottle at current secondary prices. Find a bar that has a pour or a fellow bourbon collecting friend that may have it and ask for a 2 ounce sample.