Taste: Eagle Rare 10 Year Old

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

For this Taste review we're back in America with this single barrel Eagle Rare bourbon from the much praised Buffalo Trace distillery. This is a sample I picked up as part of the Jolly Topper tastings held in Edinburgh. After too much delay in 2013, I started attending these on a regular basis and have met a great bunch of entertaining guys and girls, and broadened my horizons and experiences with whisky.

I've never written about the tastings specially before and perhaps I'll do something as we're into 2014 now. The tastings themselves vary in ticket price which sets the budget for what whisky is in store.  For instance in 2013 a Glenlivet 43 year old was a real treat and did restrict what the remaining bottles for that evening were going to be. With the 'topper you're in experienced hands and members are often generous enough to assist and donate a unique bottle. Once the tastings are done you can then enter the raffle for £2 a shot and randomly pick up a sample whisky bottle. I drew the short straw recently with the Waldviertler Austrian rye whisky yet appreciated the opportunity, this Eagle Rare could represent a decent result in the lucky dip. So, lets see how it pans out.
Distillery: Buffalo Trace but bottled under the Eagle Rare label. 
Distilled: 2003
Bottled: 2013
Price: circa £39.00 in the UK
Strength: 45%
Casks: single bourbon cask


Colour: In the worlds of the MC5 - gold!
Nose: A real punchy nose with pepper, cinnamon, marmalade then orange peel before leaving a remnant of vanilla.
Taste: Very distinctive and confirms this is a bourbon with that rougher edge evident in the finish that initially was like a compost bin. At first I though it was unpleasant but after a couple of drams it became pleasantly exclusive characteristic. I'm experiencing more mint, menthol and eucalyptus notes with smoky embers if I was burning foliage in the garden. Really bizarre, and I haven't come across this in a Scotch whisky. Bourbon certainly gives you the X-factor!  

Overall bottled at 45%, I actually prefer the staple Buffalo Trace bottling to this Eagle Rare. As a bourbon I find this one a little more rougher round the edges and coarse compared to the smooth, fluid and refined Buffalo Trace you'll find in most supermarkets nowadays. I can appreciate why some do rave about this Eagle Rare as it has real character but not one that appeals totally to my preferences.    

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