Everything you need to know about the most popular bourbon whiskey on shelves today. This time: Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace's ultimate gateway bourbon.
What is Eagle Rare?
Eagle Rare is a low-rye, low-proof bourbon made at Buffalo Trace's Frankfort, Kentucky distillery. It's aged for 10 years before bottling, and belongs to the Mashbill #1 family of bourbons at Buffalo Trace; which includes the likes of E.H. Taylor Small Batch, Stagg Jr., the distillery's namesake bourbon and others. The whiskey has won numerous awards, and remains one of the most popular premium American whiskeys in the world. Because of the mechanized single barrel bottling process, it's neither a vatted small batch bourbon nor a single barrel product, technically speaking. It's also the foundation to collector favorites Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old and Double Eagle Very Rare.
Who makes Eagle Rare?
Sazerac, Buffalo Trace's parent company, has owned the brand since 1989 and, apart from a short period of sourcing whiskey for the label after its initial purchase, has been producing Eagle Rare from its Frankfort, Kentucky distillery since (known as the George T. Stagg distillery, later renamed Buffalo Trace Distillery).
Before 1989, it was made by Seagram's at the Spanish Mission-style Lawrenceville, Kentucky distillery of Four Roses. Created by Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Charles L. Beam in 1975, it was one of the last new, premium bourbon brands introduced before the market for less premium spirits forced many bourbon makers to change tack.
Where to buy Eagle Rare bourbon?
Eagle Rare is distributed to all 50 states, but it, like all Buffalo Trace-made bourbons, is available on allocation only. This means that stores only receive a certain number of cases of Eagle Rare, rather than have their stocks replenished on demand or when supplies are low. To find a bottle, our advice is to become a consistent patron at a local spirits shop and build a relationship with the staff. Knowing when bottles might show up is half the battle.
Why is Eagle Rare so hard to find?
A combination of factors. First, it is an allocated spirit, meaning Eagle Rare will never reach equilibrium. It's also a premium bourbon produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery, which, even if the whiskey inside the bottle were average, adds a layer of shine for bourbon drinkers. Above all, though, Eagle Rare is exceptional whiskey and fills out the scorecard like few others can: affordable, well-aged, low-proof, award-winning. Its low-rye mash keeps the whiskey on the softer side, and the drinkable 90 bottling proof and 10 years spent in a barrel make it a crowd pleaser.
How much does Eagle Rare cost?
Speaking about whiskey price in terms of a bottle's suggested retail price is naive at this point, but, unlike some of the obscene gaps between real-world bottle value and MSRP (looking at you, Weller) Eagle Rare's $30 SRP and roughly $50 shelf price isn't too bad.