The buffalo tracking Widely regarded as one of the whiskey world’s most anticipated annual releases, the Antique Collection is back this year with a full five-bottle slate of rare bourbon and rye whiskeys. All five whiskeys found in Buffalo Archaeological Group (commonly abbreviated as BTAC) – including William Larue Weller, Thomas H. Handy, Eagle Rare, Sazerac, and George T. stag.
as such We reported last yearBuffalo Trace has temporarily discontinued the release of George T. Stagg because the whiskey available “did not meet Stagg brand distillation standards.” This is a really fluffy way of saying that the available supply of whiskey is either too old or too small to make a batch.
this happens. In fact, it happens across the entire whiskey industry. Brands like Jim Beam’s Booker’s Bourbon sometimes issue lower batches throughout the year due to fluctuations in off-the-shelf supply. Both Utah’s High West brand and Kentucky’s Michter have changed versions (and scales) for limited-edition products in recent years for similar reasons.
But Buffalo Trace brought Stagg back this year with a vengeance. The 2022 George T. Stagg edition is packed with the highest evidence since 2016 – “Will this hurt my teeth or something” 138.7 evidence, or 69.35 ABV.
All whiskeys in this group, including George T. Stagg, are mostly packaged as uncut and unfiltered whiskeys, which means no water has been added, and no coolant filtration is used. Aside from drinking straight from barrels, this is as close as most people get to drinking straight from the source.
George T Stagg Bourbon
For two decades, George T Stagg bourbon (the larger and rarer version of Stagg, Jr.) has been a solid hitter in the ultimate proof, and this year’s 138.7 is a solid comeback after skipping the 2021 season. All barrels for this year’s batch were distilled in Spring 2007 , aged in warehouse K, and was 15 years 5 months old at packing.
George T Stagg has flavors of pecans, chocolate sauce, cherry pie flavors, vanilla, and baking spice, with a dark, rich finish of black coffee, molasses, and oak.
William LaRue Wheeler Bourbon
William Larue Weller shares his mash bill with Pappy Van Winkle’s line of whipped bourbon. As a result, the numerous awards this bottle has received over the years is not surprising. The barrels for this year’s proof batch 124.7, which were distilled 12 years ago in the spring of 2010, are distilled into three depots: C, K and N.
The William LaRue Wheeler Bourbon 2022 is said to have notes of roasted coconut, caramel, and candy. On the palate, you’ll discover flavors of dark cherry, molasses, and mint. The leather finish is nutmeg, vanilla and plump toffee.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Award-winning Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye has a list of awards nearly as long as her name. This year’s edition is a record benchmark above 130 – the highest evidence of this in a decade.
Distilled in the spring of 2016, the high-resistance rye used in this version is aged for three houses: I, L, and M. A floral nose of marmalade, meringue and anise scrutinizes the sweet flavors of baking spice, dark chocolate, and orange peel according to the distillery. The finish is long, sweet and spicy with flavors of candied orange, praline, and cinnamon. It’s 130.9 proof, the highest proof of this whiskey since 2012.
17-year-old eagle rare bourbon
Eagle Rare’s older brother has gone through a few changes in recent years, including increasing the Proof to 101 for an impressive 17-year-old statement. All of these bourbons have won prizes, of course, but last year’s edition won the President’s Cup in this year’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
All casks of this whiskey are housed in warehouses H, K, and L before being fused and fixed to 101. Buffalo Trace describes a nose of oak and cherry topped with chocolate, tobacco, and caramel, vanilla, and dark chocolate flavors, with a finish of toffee, spice, and vanilla.
Sazerac Rye whiskey is 18 years old
The Sazerac Rye may be the least respected of all the names on this list, but herein lies the best argument for naming this “hidden gem” of the group. All of the whiskeys used in this year’s 90-proof batch were distilled in the spring of 2003 or 2004 (which makes some of the juice aged already 19). These barrels were old in warehouses K, M and P.
Buffalo Trace describes orange peel, lemon peel, and molasses on a citrus-sweet nose. Sazerac Rye 18 is bold in flavors of black pepper, coriander and maple syrup, with a herbal touch of oakwood, mint and tobacco leaf.
Oddly enough, there is no price increase on any of these bottles for 2022. Buffalo Trace has been reluctant to raise most of its prices in recent years, even though other major Kentucky distilleries have raised prices for rare stocks.
The $99 bottle price across the Buffalo Trace Antique range has remained stable for several years. Prices have only gone up about $30 in the past decade. The complete set was priced at just $70 per bottle back in 2012.
Of course, between the climbing duty free market for these bottles and the post-market price increases, 2012 bottles now fetch their retail prices dozens of times. And you’re not likely to see BTAC this year at retail prices. If you do, buy a lottery ticket on the same day.
BTAC was created in 2002, making this the group’s 20th anniversary. Getting each version will likely cost you six figures, so we won’t tell you that this is a group you should try to get retroactively. This year’s releases will be enough of a challenge — and a reward — to get your hands on it.
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