Eagle Rare 10-year Bourbon review
The longer review
Every American loves a good Bourbon. It is considered the ultimate American spirit considering that it is distilled and barrel-aged in Bourbon County, Kentucky. For a drink to be called a bourbon, it has to have about 51 percent corn, be aged in new oak barrels, and be made in the USA.
There are only two types of bourbons; straight and blended. Straight bourbon whiskeys undergo aging for not less than two years and do not have any flavorings. On the other hand, blended bourbons can have extra flavors. However, they consist of not less than 51 percent bourbon.
If you are new to bourbon whiskey, you can start your journey with the Eagle Rare 10-year bourbon. It is a 101-proof flagship product to the Buffalo Trace collection whiskies from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.
The distinctive bourbon is best enjoyed neat. However, you can still drink it on the rocks or even use it in a cocktail.
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History of the Eagle Rare 10-year Bourbon Whiskey
The Eagle Rare Bourbon whiskey is a masterfully crafted bourbon that carries distinct and rich flavors. It dates back to 1975 when it was first created by Seagram and Master distiller Charles L Beam. In 2010, Beam was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame subsequently for creating several bourbon brands.
Part of the reason the Eagle Rare Bourbon was made was to compete with another bourbon with a similar bird-theme and distilled to ER's proof:101. However, the bourbon was distilled at Old Prentice Distillery that later became home to the Four Roses. Fourteen years down the line, Sazerac purchased the ER brand. They were bottling all their whiskeys before they decided to purchase the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1992. Back then, the Trace Distillery was known as George. T Stagg Distillery.
Since Sazerac's headquarters was in New Orleans, it was common to find many Eagle Rare labels listing New Orleans as their location. However, it does not necessarily mean they were bottled from there—most of the products that list New Orleans as their location were most likely bottled around 1997.
Apart from the 10-year-old bourbon, the company produces a 17-year-old Eagle Rare Bourbon in small quantities every year. It is, therefore, one of the most sought-after bourbons and rye whiskeys in the market today. There is also the Double Eagle Very Rare that matures after 20 years. The company made only a few bottles that are individually numbered with letters that can prove authenticity. The Double Eagle Very Rare features a glass decanter with two beautifully sculptured eagles. The bourbon fits the bill of a collector's item.
The brand also had a 15-year-old Eagle Rare Expression that was specifically made for the Japanese market. However, the drink was discontinued.
Who Makes the Eagle Rare Bourbon and Where?
The Eagle rare Bourbon was sold by Seagram about 14 years before Sazerac Company acquired the brand in 1989. Back then, the drink was a multiple-barrel whiskey. However, Sazerac converted it to a single barrel whiskey in 2005. Today, it is part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery that is owned by Sazerac.
Sazerac is home to 7 distilleries that produce more than 450 brands under its name. The company has long been in the alcohol business since the 1600s. The company first started with the Cognac business in France. They landed in New Orleans in the 1800s, where they played an essential role in developing the liquor business.
It is in 1989 that the company got into the Bourbon business by purchasing several brands from Seagram. In 1992, the company took over the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Today, some of the company's brands under Buffalo Trace Distilleries include Buffalo Trace Bourbon and George T. Stagg.
The distillery has, for long, received recognition around the world. In 2010 it was named the Visitor Attraction of the Year by Whisky Magazine. Additionally, in 2013, it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark due to its ability to preserve its heritage. Whisky Magazine also named it the Distiller of the year in 2018. To date, the distillery has been true to its heritage while still not compromising on innovating drinks of the future.
Where is the Eagle Rare Bourbon Made?
The Eagle Rare bourbon is distilled and distributed by the Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky. The bourbon is made using the #1 Mash bill from Buffalo Trace, which is a low rye mash bill. The same rye mash is also used in the making of E.H Taylor Small Batch and Buffalo Trace. The bourbon is first matured in barrels for a decade before bottling at 45 % ABV.
Initially, the bourbon was a double-barrel whiskey. Around 2005, Seagram discontinued the 10-year-old 101 proof Eagle Rare whiskey production alongside other older productions. Instead, the company started producing 10-year-old 90 proof single barrel bourbons that you can readily find in the market.
Not long ago, the company made a design change to their bottling by removing the 10-year-old and single barrel statement. The company notes that the single barrel statement's change came about after transitioning from a hand bottling line to a high-speed automated line. The transition made it hard for them to ensure that bourbon comes only from one barrel. It can be from two different barrels, especially when the line switches from one barrel to the next.
What to expect
When the Eagle Rare first came into the market, it was a 101-proof double barrel whiskey. The bourbon recipe has changed over the years, making it a single barrel and converting it from a 101 proof to 90 proof. The change also resulted in a smoother bourbon than its earlier sharp and overwhelming feel.
Today, you can find the Eagle Rare bourbon in two main varieties: 10 years and 17 years. Although both of them are smooth, the 17-year-old bourbon has a lighter feel on the tongue, mainly due to aging for a longer time.
When you open the bottle, you will detect some faint notes of sherry, dry oak, and leather scents. You can also notice warm notes of persimmons, vanilla, orange zest, and char. Your nose can also pick out nutty notes and scents of toasted marshmallow with honey.
When inside the bottle, the bourbon appears to have a red-orange color. It takes on a honey gold color when well matured. As you swirl the drink in a glass, you may note that it has a thick coating and appears to have a heavy body. The 10-year-old bourbon has more uniformity and has fewer trails down on the glass sides than the 17-year-old bourbon.
The bourbon is well balanced with woody, slightly sweet, and oily flavors. You can feel some hints of vanilla and the prominent taste of oak and cocoa. There is so much going around the taste as it alternates from sweet, dry, and spicy in rapid turns. It will, however, leave your mouth with a light and dry aftertaste that is quite refreshing.
How to Drink Eagle Rare Bourbon
The Eagle rare bourbon is the perfect drink for casual bourbon drinkers. Its shifting taste from sweet and spicy makes it very interesting and easy to drink. It has enough complexity to allow you to drink it straight.
If you are new to drinking bourbon, you can pour the Eagle Rare bourbon on the rocks or with a few ice cubes. You only need to pour a finger or two of the bourbon over the ice and enjoy the experience. You can also drink it with a bit of water, ginger ale, or club soda to open up the bourbon's flavors.
The bourbon makes the perfect option for casual drinkers who are not interested in high-proof bourbons and find ryes too harsh.
You can also use the Eagle Rare bourbon as a spirit base in making cocktails. However, not all classic cocktails may work well with the drink. For example, you can get exciting flavors when creating an old fashioned, but the bourbon may feel too oaky for fresh cocktails such as a smash or julep.
Price of the Eagle Rare Bourbon
The Eagle Rare bourbon is one of the least expensive brands under the Buffalo Trace Distillery. You can find the 10-year-old bourbon for about $30 or less, depending on your location. At this price, it is easy to stock up the drink and appreciate it at any time. When you consider the quality and flavor of the bourbon, it is value for money.
The Whiskey Rocks verdict.
Is it good?
The Eagle rare bourbon is slightly heavy but easy to drink. The whisky marries a sweet, fruity richness with some earthy oak elements and spice that stimulates your taste buds. It has a long maturation period that increases its richness, offering you good value for money at its price.
The 10-year-old Eagle Rare bourbon is inexpensive and readily available. However, the 17-year-old bourbon may not hit the market until fall. Even then, the company releases very few batches to the market.
The drink may not be fancy, but you will enjoy your first sip. It is the perfect drink for anyone new to bourbon.
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