Buffalo Trace, one of the most renowned names in American whiskey, is rewriting the narrative of ultra-aged bourbon with the introduction of Eagle Rare 25. This exceptional release represents a monumental achievement, both in terms of aging innovation and the whiskey's remarkable flavor profile. At a staggering 25 years old, Eagle Rare 25 stands as the oldest expression to emerge from Buffalo Trace's extensive portfolio and is among the most venerable bourbons ever to grace the market.
The inception of Eagle Rare 25 can be traced back to Buffalo Trace's audacious $20 million experimental program, spanning multiple decades. Nestled within a special warehouse on the distillery's sprawling grounds, this ambitious initiative comprised thousands of experiments designed to decode the intricate interplay of factors that influence whiskey aging and maturation. These factors include the char level inside barrels, temperature variations, airflow, exposure to light, and barrel placement.
Intriguingly, this quest for age-defying bourbon reveals an interesting contrast with European counterparts. While Scotch whisky producers in Europe can mature their spirits for up to 50 years, the United States has typically limited its bourbons to around 20 years. This divergence is largely attributed to the divergent climates in these regions. The warm, temperate weather in Kentucky, home to many American whiskey producers, accelerates the aging process, leading the whiskey to acquire characteristics from the barrel at a swifter rate. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the higher annual evaporation rate known as the "Angel's Share," which reduces the volume of liquid in each barrel as time passes.
Buffalo Trace's pioneering experiments predominantly emanate from Warehouse X, an experimental facility divided into six individual chambers. These chambers can be tailored to scrutinize various facets of whiskey aging, thereby offering profound insights into the process.
Eagle Rare 25, however, owes its origin to Warehouse P, the second experimental warehouse constructed by Buffalo Trace. Warehouse P was conceived as a groundbreaking endeavor to explore the possibility of enhancing the aging and maturation processes that are characteristic of American whiskey and bourbon. The aspiration was to take a 20-year-old bourbon and extend its aging by an additional five years, but with a focus on preventing excessive tannins and woodiness. The outcome, though unpredictable, has been astonishing. The whiskey exhibits a smoother finish that results from this extended aging period in controlled conditions.
Mark Brown, the executive chairman of Sazerac Company, shares his awe, "We didn't know what to expect. I think if you asked me what to expect, I might have said that we expect the 20-year-old to taste five years older, but that's not what's happened. It's changed characteristics, and the tannin levels have actually dropped, which is remarkable."
The flavor profile of Eagle Rare 25 is equally exceptional. It boasts captivating notes of intense cherry, dark chocolate, and a palate rich in vanilla, dark fruit, and butterscotch, culminating in a protracted finish highlighted by black pepper and baking spice. The fusion of these nuanced flavors makes Eagle Rare 25 a true rarity in the world of aged whiskeys, distinguishing it from any other product currently available.
The journey doesn't end with Eagle Rare 25; Buffalo Trace intends to continue its pioneering work in Warehouse P, ensuring that the experimental aging process remains an ongoing endeavor. As Mark Brown emphasizes, "This is a continual learning process, and hopefully what comes out of it is something that gets the consumer really excited about the future of American whiskey."
Furthermore, the introduction of ultra-aged bourbon places brands like Buffalo Trace in a more competitive position with Scotch whisky brands, which have long featured ultra-aged offerings in their portfolios. In the words of Mark Brown, "Consumers associate age with either price or quality, so we've been at a bit of a disadvantage by just not being able to age whiskey."
The anticipation among whiskey enthusiasts for Eagle Rare 25 is mounting, with fewer than 200 750ml bottles slated for release. These exclusive bottles will be available at select retailers, bars, and restaurants worldwide, with a suggested retail price of $10,000 per bottle.
In the world of bourbon, Eagle Rare 25 is a game-changer, a testament to Buffalo Trace's unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of whiskey aging and delivering a unique, exceptional product that defies expectations. As the American whiskey industry embraces innovation and tradition in equal measure, one thing is certain: Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare 25 have carved their names in the annals of whiskey history.
About Eagle Rare
Eagle Rare is a well-regarded bourbon whiskey brand produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery, one of the most esteemed distilleries in Kentucky. Eagle Rare is celebrated for its commitment to crafting high-quality, single barrel bourbon whiskey that captures the essence of traditional Kentucky bourbon-making. The brand's name is a tribute to the magnificent bald eagles that are native to North America.
Eagle Rare Bourbon is known for its dedication to preserving the heritage of bourbon production. It is made using a high-rye mash bill, which imparts a spicy and complex flavor profile to the whiskey. The bourbon is aged in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of 10 years, allowing it to develop a rich and full-bodied taste, characterized by notes of caramel, toffee, and oak.
One of the distinctive features of Eagle Rare is its status as a single barrel bourbon. Each bottle is drawn from an individual barrel, which means that each release can vary slightly in flavor and character. This adds to the brand's appeal for bourbon enthusiasts who appreciate the uniqueness of each bottling.
Eagle Rare has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, and it remains a cherished choice among those who appreciate the rich flavors and tradition of American whiskey. Its commitment to quality, its extended aging period, and its status as a single barrel bourbon contribute to its reputation as a respected and sought-after name in the bourbon world.
About Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace is a legendary American distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky, known for producing a wide range of high-quality bourbon and whiskey brands. The distillery's roots can be traced back to the early 19th century when it operated under various names before being officially named Buffalo Trace in 1999. Buffalo Trace Distillery is renowned for its dedication to preserving the traditions of bourbon production and is one of the oldest continuously operating distilleries in the United States.
One of Buffalo Trace's standout features is its commitment to producing a diverse range of bourbon expressions. The distillery produces well-known brands like Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Eagle Rare, and Blanton's, each with its own unique flavor profile and characteristics. Their bourbons are made using a variety of mash bills and aging methods, resulting in a broad spectrum of tastes and experiences for bourbon enthusiasts.
Buffalo Trace is also known for its extensive inventory of aging whiskey. Their warehouses are filled with barrels of bourbon in various stages of maturation, some of which have been aging for decades. The distillery's approach to aging is meticulous, and the use of different types of oak barrels and aging conditions contributes to the complexity and depth of their bourbons.
Visitors to Buffalo Trace can experience the brand's history and craftsmanship through guided tours and tastings. The distillery is a popular destination for bourbon aficionados, offering an opportunity to explore the production process, including mashing, fermentation, distillation, and aging in the barrel warehouses. Buffalo Trace's commitment to sharing the art and science of bourbon-making with visitors reflects its dedication to transparency and education in the bourbon industry.