This limited-edition lineup of straight ryes and bourbons hits shelves in October.
Buffalo Trace’s long-running Antique Collection of whiskey varieties is back for 2021, but with one omission that may disappoint fans of famed Kentucky distillery.
George T. Stagg, a powerhouse favorite of the typically five-whiskey suite, has been cut this year. According to Buffalo Trace, the unfiltered 15-year-old bourbon didn’t live up to its legacy upon expert tastings.
“Before any barrel can be dumped and bottled, it goes through rigorous testing procedures numerous times to ensure it is meeting the quality standards set forth for that brand,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley.
“Unfortunately, this crop of barrels earmarked to be Stagg back when it was put in the barrel in 2006 did not meet the Stagg profile today. We discussed at great length how to proceed, and ultimately decided we did not feel right about lowering our standards or the age, by dipping into next year’s supply of barrels.”
However, four other expressions made it to bottling. Get to know them below, with descriptions from Buffalo Trace:
The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon is William Larue Weller. The previous release of this wheater was honored with an “Extraordinary/Ultimate Recommendation” at the 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. The 2021 release was distilled in the winter of 2009 and aged in Warehouses C, D, K, L and Q. This bourbon registers at 125.3 proof. A nose of crème brulee, followed by cherry and toasted graham crackers on the palate and a long rich finish of coca, herbs and oak can be found in this year’s offering.
Thomas H. Handy is the uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey. Last year’s release earned a Double Gold Medal at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This year’s Handy was distilled in the spring of 2015; aged in warehouses I, L, O, and K and weighs in at 129.5 proof. The flavor profile includes anise and cinnamon with a rich finish of spearmint and chocolate.
This 101 proof whiskey was distilled in Spring of 2002 and aged on the first floor of Warehouse P. The 2019 Eagle Rare release was honored with “Best of Category” at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. This bourbon has a nose of ripe cherries, vanilla cream and oak, followed by a taste of caramel and coffee and a long finish of oak, pepper and fresh herbs.
The previous edition of Sazerac Rye 18 Year-Old was named “Best Rye Whiskey Over 15 Years” in the 2021 “Whisky Bible.” This 2021 straight rye whiskey release has notable flavors of bright apples and herbs, anise and maple syrup on the palate and a finish of cocoa, coffee and dates. The barrels for this whiskey were filled in the spring of 2003 and it rested on the second and fourth floors of Warehouses K and P. It is bottled at 90 proof.
Priced from $99 per bottle, the 2021 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection will be available in late October.