Eagle Rare – 10 Year Old – Single Barrel – Alpop Ward Selection – Straight Bourbon Whiskey | 45% (90 Proof)
Color/Appearance: Late sunset orange. About normal looking for a ten year old bourbon. Eagle Rare by Buffalo Trace distillery is a rather good deal for a bourbon of this age. Though in its normal form it doesn’t garner the praise that something like Elijah Craig does. The general opinion on the standard version didn’t have me rushing to the store to grab some. I had heard private barrels of Eagle Rare could be fantastic. I certainly was interested in tracking one of those down. Thanks to the great generosity of the bourbon community and more importantly Alan himself I was able to procure this fine example. Lets talk about the bottle. I have once heard it said that this bottle is the most American looking object that could exist. Lets take a look, well why yes it may very well be so. America’s own unique spirit housed in a bottle brimming with stars and eagles. One thing of note and worry is how they have recently moved the ten year age statement to the back of the bottle. This is usually the first move made when the aim is to remove the age statement in the future. Also the regular release used to be single barrel and that designation is no longer present. Thought for this privately selected version, all of it is bourbon from a single barrel.
Nose: Amaretto, cinnamon sticks, pancake batter next to a bowl of warm maple syrup, old oiled leather, dry moss, linseed oil and interestingly candle wax. A rather gentle nose that draws you in. Very pleasant with no alcohol vapors, one where you can bury your nose down deep and just breath it all in.
Palate: Maybe recently I have been drinking too many cask strength bourbons, but this just glides in so easily. Its got all the razzle dazzle of bourbon brightness but recast in a sleek package. Marshmallows, toffee, orange cake, Powerful wood but so in check and integrated. Beautiful hint of smoke and spearmint. Really spicy wood. The spicy sweet combo is wonderful. This is really where this bourbon shines. Its not just an oak cask here, it’s a great barrel. A great barrel is a wonderful thing. It takes the Eagle Rare’s base character and softens what needs softening and amplifies the good parts. Most bourbon is just the right cask away from greatness. The barrel selection really deepens and rounds what is there and lets you taste the nuances with ease.
Finish: Cinnamon and cayenne pepper within a rush of caramelized sugars, then that spicy wood is slowly revealed. Very nice explosive finish that gives you warmth without the burn. The good cask allowing the wood to be forceful without over-oaking you. Medium in length with just enough dryness to keep you coming back for more.
Overall: The perfect buildup, with a soft intriguing nose, gentle but expanding palate, bright and beautifully woody finish. This stuff isn’t going to blow your mind, but it flawlessly delivers great bourbon flavors that don’t fight each other. That sounds easy, but is rather hard to achieve. This private selection of Eagle Rare is certainly much better than the standard version and really shows how a nice barrel can enhance tremendously the base spirit. As you can see from the picture I have flown through this bottle and it is such a nice pour that I often find myself in the mood for it. Isn’t that the only true test. It’s a shame that they don’t let these out the door at cask strength. That might truly be mind blowing. Thanks again to Alan for his warmth and generosity.