Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection - 2011

Well, it's official, the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) for 2011 is on its way. Now it its twelfth year of release, BT today provided some details about this years collection in the following press release:

"FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY (August 30, 2011) The long wait is over! Buffalo Trace Distillery will release its 2011 Antique Collection in September. The much anticipated collection will once again feature five limited-release whiskeys of various ages, recipes and proofs. Here’s what ardent fans can expect:

Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old
Last year’s release was given a liquid gold award and a 97.5 rating in Jim Murray’s 2011 Whisky Bible. This 2011 rye whiskey release is described as “intense spice with underlying sweetness and dry finish.” Hopefully critics agree this batch is just as good, or better!

Eagle Rare 17 Year Old
The previous edition of this bourbon was honored with a Gold Medal at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 2011 edition was distilled in the Spring of 1993 and has been aging on the 2nd, 3rd and 6th floors of Warehouses I and K. After 18 years and 7 months of aging under its belt, it brings to the table notes of leather, vanilla and tobacco.

George T. Stagg
The 2010 release of this long-time favorite was named “Spirit of the Year” by F. Paul Pacult in the 2011 Spirit Journal. The 2011 George T. Stagg was found in Warehouses H, I, and K. This uncut, unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the winter of 1993 and weighs in at 142.6 proof—some bold stuff! This whiskey tastes of espresso, chocolate and vanilla.

William Larue Weller
William Larue Weller is the Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon. The previous edition was named “Bourbon of the Year” in Jim Murray’s 2011 Whisky Bible. The 2011 offering was distilled in the summer of 1998 and aged on the fourth and fifth floors of Warehouses N, O, and P. This William Larue Weller release registers in at 133.5 proof – a lot stronger than last year! It tastes of honey, caramel, light toffee and pipe tobacco.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. The 2010 edition was named “Rye Whiskey of the Year” by Jim Murray in his 2011 Whisky Bible. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2005, aged on the sixth floor of Warehouse K and weighs in at 128.6 proof. The flavor has been described as “Christmas cake and allspice. Bold and yummy.”

In case you didn't notice, I'll point out to you that the Sazerac 18 is the only one that doesn't give a barrel date. That wasn't an oversight as BT has had this 18 year Rye tanked for a number of years. For enthusiasts, this is an exciting time as they wait in anticipation for allocations to reach their respective markets.

In the past, I've collected (and enjoyed) the BTAC releases but as I mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I skipped last year and will most likely do the same this year. For the most part, these whiskies are top shelf with the only caveat being the Eagle Rare 17 which I've found to have wide swings in taste and quality. Collectors typically snatch up GTS and WLW first which is why many times you can still find the Sazerac 18 and the Eagle Rare 17 still on the shelves for a while after release. Now, I may change my mind and pick up a bottle or two, but that would be it. Not purchasing for me has more to do with a saturated bunker of previous years BTAC that I have yet to open and the fact that the taste profile stays fairly consistent year over year for these various offerings (with the exception being ER17).

So, anyone waiting with baited breath for the release? Have you called in your order? Let me know what you plan to do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Great Quake of 2011!

Sitting at work yesterday and all of a sudden things start rockin and rollin. Earthquake! Growing up in California I've lived through a number of them. Evacuation commenced and as we're all milling around outside waiting for the "all clear" my thoughts turn to home and all my bottles sitting on open shelves. I get a knot in my stomach thinking about a George T. Stagg or Pappy Van Winkle laying broken on the floor leaking it's contents all over the place. My plan was to work a little late but instead, I made a beeline home to check on things. Thankfully driving up I didn't see any missing bricks or cracks in either of my chimneys. Inside, everything looks normal as I do a quick inspection of multiple bunkers. Whew!

Evidently, there was a 4.2 aftershock last night about 8:00 which I didn't notice. I did notice however another aftershock this morning about 8:15. I just hope the 5.8 rumbler wasn't a pre-shock.

To celebrate surviving the great quake of 2011, I'm enjoying a 1988 Old Forester 86 proof with a Padilla Achilles cigar. The Old Forester is one of my favorite out of production bourbons. I say out of production because this particular bourbon came from DSP414 where current Old Forester come from DSP356. Very different flavor profiles. The 414 is rich, creamy, buttery and uber delicious. The Padilla Achilles is a good value cigar that I picked up from Cigars International for $2 a stick. Good cigar at a great value.

I just hope Hurricane Irene passes well to the East.