Whiskey Name: Eagle Rare 10 years old
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Release Date: General release
Price: About £35, but has been seen at £20 on Amazon
Age: 10 years old (shocker)
Mashbill: Undisclosed. Buffalo Trace mashbill #1. Rye recipe; malted barley and rye understood to be similar percentages of the mash, and somewhere around 10% each.
Introduction/Background: I mean, do you need an intro for this one? Among the all-time great sub-£50 whiskies; a pour one tends to move to after the supermarket shelf bourbons have all been ticked off. A step into a larger world, confirming the imbiber as having gone happily past the bourbon-y point of no return.
These days you can find this 10yo Buffalo Trace alumnus on the shelf of Asda though, which is a demonstration of how far bourbon has come in the UK.Right, that’ll probably do it. So, without further hesitation, presenting the internet’s billionth Eagle Rare 10 review.
Appearance: Not quite Mahogany, but knocking on the door.
Nose: Pungent in a positive way. Deep and leathery; development immediately evident, before a herbal, vegetal rye aspect rears its head. Orange zest and char. It isn’t the clearest if I’m honest; there are certainly better defined noses for the money. But there is a lot going on. Not forceful, but makes its way assertively out of the glass.
Mouth: Rounded texture: bordering on oily, then deciding against it. The rye is in the last flush of its youth, just spearing though the body with a little prickle of resinous pine. This is where deeper caramel emerges, alongside cherries, sultanas and oak. Rather harmonious; no one flavour overwhelms. Sedate, drawing room whiskey. Palate beats the nose for me, but I know that isn’t a universally held opinion. I guess a billion reviews can’t agree on everything.
Finish: The rye lingers in caramel-wrapped walnut form for a medium to longish period.
Value for Money: Oh just buy one already.
Summary: There are definitely bourbons better than Eagle Rare 10 for under £50. I’ve always ranked Elijah Craig above it, as well as Four Roses Single Barrel, Blanton’s Original and probably a couple of others. But this is still one of the must-try experiences of the whisk(e)y world, and an absolute bargain. It doesn’t have the same force of personality as some of its rivals; it seems to cruise along. Almost the Rolls-Royce of the sub-£50 bourbon world in that it may not be as flashy or as loud or as fast and exciting as a couple of its peers, but then it doesn’t especially want to be. It looks at them saying “no, I don’t hold with that sort of thing”, and glides along in its own classy and confident way. In any case, if they bolstered the proof it’d more or less just be another breed of Stagg. And it’s not like you’d turn down a Rolls Royce now, is it?
Overall Verdict: If you haven’t tried this bourbon yet, for God’s sake get yourself a bottle. Age statements under £50 are gradually trickling away; it’d be a tragedy if this one did too.
Words by WhiskyPilgrim