Details surrounding Buffalo Trace’s world-beating Antique Collection have landed. Released annually, the five-bottle collection will be available at allocated retailers nationwide in late September or early October at its usual $99 suggested retail price.
For the uninitiated, the Antique Collection is routinely among the most-hyped whiskey releases of the year. Bottles regularly receive some of whiskey’s highest awards — including top accolades in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, Whisky Advocate, World Whiskies Awards and the all-important San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Here’s what to expect from each of the five bottles in this year’s drop.
William Larue Weller
Think of William Larue Weller Pappy on steroids. It’s typically the second most sought after bottle in the collection (it’s a close call between it and George T. Stagg), and it’s made with the same wheated mashbill recipe as Pappy. But in William Larue Weller’s case, it’s bottled at barrel proof (128). This year’s offering is 12-years-old. Expect sweetness and heavy vanilla influence.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac
Typically the most slept-on of the collection, Thomas Handy is a barrel proof rye that’s built to highlight the power of rye in a relatively younger whiskey. Where other bottles in the group are typically matured over a decade, Handy is routinely bottled in the 6- to 8-year range. This year’s expression is aged for six.
George T. Stagg
The star of the show. This year’s release is a major outlier. Where most George T. Stagg bourbons are bottled at eyewatering proof points (as high as 140 in some cases), this year’s is a comparatively manageable 117. Buffalo Trace master distiller Harlen Wheatley says the drop can be attributed to its place in the aging warehouse. “Many of the barrels for this year’s Stagg composite were taken from the first floor of the warehouse. The first floor is cooler with higher humidity levels, therefore the alcohol evaporates faster than the water,” Wheatley said in a press release. This year’s Stagg is 15-years-old.
Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old
An upgraded version of one of the most popular bourbons on the market. Eagle Rare 17-year is the same stuff as standard Eagle Rare with seven more years in a barrel under the hood and 11 extra proof points. If you like the standard offering’s peppery, caramel notes, the Antique Collection version takes that profile and intensifies it.
Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old
Called “Old Saz” by whiskey collectors, Sazerac 18-year is made of the same stuff standard Sazerac is made of — it’s just a lot older.