Review: Sazerac 18 Year Old Straight Rye (2015 Release)

Category: Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

Origin: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Bottling: Official

ABV: 66.05%

Cost: £129.95 from Master of Malt [sold out]

Score: 88/100

sazerac-18-year-old-straight-rye-2015-release-whisky

What they say:

The One and Only New Orleans Original. Sazerac Rye Whiskey symbolizes the tradition and history of New Orleans. Rye Whiskey that dates back to the 1800’s, around the time when saloons, veiled as Coffee Houses, began lining the streets of New Orleans. It was at the Sazerac Coffee House on Royal Street where local patrons were served toddies made with Rye Whiskey and Peychaud’s Bitters. The libation became known as the “Sazerac” and America’s first branded cocktail was born. This is the whiskey that started it all.

TASTING NOTES:

Aromas of clove, vanilla, anise and pepper. Subtle notes of candies spices and citrus. The big finish is smooth with hints of licorice.

What I say:

The final dram in Buffalo Trace’s Master Distiller Drew Mayville’s masterclass was this well-aged Sazerac Rye expression. Seemingly this is the last of the batch that has been released over the last few years having been stored in stainless steel tanks – so presumably no more wood-ageing than the previous batches – just the same great stuff!

Colour:

Dark ruby copper (13/20), thick legs and occasional quick fine tears

Nose:

Dusty cinnamon spice, spicy rye and ryebread, grassy and dried hay, cocoa powder, linseed oil/putty, maple-smoked bacon, toffee-coated popcorn, slightly dusty and chalky aroma to it

Taste:

Sweet corn/popcorn, cornflakes, toffee, oak wood, smooth, ryebread, pumpernickel, pumpkin spice, tobacco, gingerbread, quite drying with well-integrated spices baked into the cereal grains, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, clove, mace

Finish:

Medium-long, ryebread, sandalwood, tobacco leaf

Overall:

A beautiful dram, very unusual with plenty of novel (for me) and interesting flavours presumably arising from the rye used in the production. Very integrated and complex flavours found on the palate. For me this as second only to the Stagg Jr. as the cherries in that were delicious. This is definitely something I would happily return to though – similar to EDDU buckwheat whisky from France this also has flavours not commonly found in most scotch.