This is not going to be a traditional review with proper tasting notes. Mostly since I didn’t write any notes, but I still want to review this whisky, in a way.
Some background first, since that is the reason I’m writing this piece anyway.
Eagle Rare is a bourbon brand from Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky. It’s quite famous, although that fame is mostly based (for me at least) on the rather good 17 year old that comes out annually as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Then it’s released simultaneously with heavy hitters like George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller and the 18 year old Sazerac Rye.
The ‘normal’ ten year old bourbons from Eagle Rare always are released as single barrels, which means this one, selected by the World of Drinks chain of liquor shops in The Netherlands, fits in that line of releases normally.
When it came out I got enthusiastic, since we don’t get many single barrels bottled for semi-local shops, events or anything. At least, not from America. I bought two, and decided to bottle share one bottle. It didn’t sell out, that bottle share, but that’s fine since I ended up with quite a bit of bourbon to drink.
One of the reaction I got on that bottle share was “That’s a fucking expensive sticker”, in regard to it being a single barrel bottled for a shop in Holland. While every bottle of Eagle Rare 10 year old is a single barrel. Of course, that guy is right since it being bottled for someone special doesn’t make it any more special if everything is already a single barrel.
I had to look into it, but the price of a regular bottle of Eagle Rare starts at some € 38 at the ‘box pushers’, the low margin stores that base their existence on vast amounts of sales instead of a healthy margin. In regular shops it’s a bit more expensive and clocks in at some € 40, but prices go up to € 48 in other shops.
This one is available (or was, it’s not in the chain’s web shop for some reason) at € 47. It seems the sticker is more or less included for free, compared to healthy competition.
The whiskey itself is fine. Just like many other Eagle Rares, if I recall correctly. It didn’t stand out but it’s quite good, and an easy drinker. It also works well in sauces and cocktails., Normally I prefer to use cheaper bourbon for that, but I didn’t have any open bottles at the time.
There’s some caramel and corn sweetness. The oak isn’t too pronounced or bitter. All is quite smooth and well balanced. Well done at Buffalo Trace and also well done for picking the cask at World of Drinks, I guess.
So, how do I feel about this all? I could have saved myself some 8 euros by getting an Eagle Rare elsewhere without a sticker. I could also have not gotten one since if it wasn’t released as a ‘bottled for World of Drinks’ special I wouldn’t have thought to buy it at all.
Still, I think it’s cool to get this. Mostly because there’s not much bourbon going around in The Netherlands among whisk(e)y geeks and there should be more of it. Also, I love that a Dutch shop had the balls to have this entire cask bottled for themselves, and this concept should be supported. Maybe we get a bit more special releases in in the future because of actions like this.
When all is said and done I suggest people get a bottle of this when they’re in the shop, and be happy with it. Let’s regard this as an investment in an improving bourbon market in The Netherlands. Massive kudos for World of Drinks for doing this!
Eagle Rare 10 year old, bottled for World of Drinks in 2016, 45%. Not sure if it is still available, but it cost me € 47 or € 48.