The Sazerac Rye review
Company: Buffalo Trace
Classification: Straight Rye Whiskey
Breakdown: 51% rye, 39% corn, 10% malted barley
Price: c. £52
Surely the only time a whiskey name has ever been derived from the name of a cocktail and coffee house? The said coffee house was in New Orleans, USA, and the Sazerac cocktail was originally concocted of cognac, absinthe and Peychauds bitters.
Thomas H Handy was once a bartender at the coffee house before becoming the owner. Mr Handy also owned Peychauds bitters (that was handy). You may of course recognise the name Thomas H Handy, because it is also the name of one of Buffalo Trace’s annual releases in their Antique Collection. Over time the cognac in the cocktail was replaced with the rye whiskey in this review.
This now famous whiskey is today made at the Buffalo Trace distillery. It is officially a no age statement release but there are strong rumours that it is at least 6 years old. The bottle is an absolute gem and you can imagine this exact bottle shape being used throughout the USA in all kind of coffee houses, bars and saloons in the mid-19th century.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass
What we got - Fresh, citrus fruits, wet cut grass, herbs, sweet (Mav), hint of mint (Mav)
What they say we should get - A sweet, balanced nose with allspice and ginger, orange peels and pepper
What we got - Spicy, pepper and slightly smoky towards the end of the serving
What they say we should get - Thick and mouth-watering with syrupy notes of over ripe Seville oranges and ground spices
What we got – Medium long, the spice certainly sticks around
What they say we should get - Medium-length with tingling sweet spices
There is no surprise that the tasting notes are all encompassing the word ‘spice’ throughout with a whiskey made with 51% rye. The Gents did however find the nose a little more herbaceous than the experts and even found notes of tobacco on the palate. The finish was without a doubt, called out by us bang on.
Perhaps one of the Gents (Mr. Pie) was all a little bit giddy with excitement when this bottle was first bought and opened. Recollections of this pour for the first time when alone, are slightly more memorable than when it was tasted for the second time for this review. Both the Gents have certainly concluded that the tasting experience of all bourbons can be dictated by circumstances which can sometimes be out of your control. These include the time of day, outside temperature, temperament and how many times that day you’ve been shouted at by the boss or wife (this can of course be the same person).
This whiskey is not at all overpowering on the palate for a 45% ABV bottling and could definitely be named as a daily sipper. Both of the Gents conclude that this bottle is almost certainly overpriced for what it delivers and there are other rye whiskies out there which give you greater value for money.
5 out of 10 – Mav
5 out of 10 – Mr. Pie