The last substance I had this good was emergency scheduled by the DEA in 1984
Notes:This whiskey is produced at the scenic Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort (close to Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring) home of numerous other whiskies such as Ancient Age, Ancient Ancient Age, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare 10 year-old,Eagle Rare 17, Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms,Hancock Reserve, Elmer T. Lee and their Wheated Bourbon Series; W. L. Weller Special Reserve,and W. L. Weller 12 . (See our Adventure Section for a tour of the distillery). This is a small batch bourbon, part of the antique series. This has been stored on the 5th floor of warehouse M one of the older more temperate warehouses at Buffalo trace.This is a wheated bourbon using North Dakota wheat, rather than Minnesota rye, which is used in the other bourbons of the series. For the detail-oriented, this whiskey went into the barrel at 114 proof (which can mean a lot of flavor going in) and came out 15 years 3 months later at 129.9 proof after losing 50.64 % to evaporation.
Appearance: Deep bronze in the bottle ,darker than the other whiskeys (marginally) in the antique collection. Shows its age quite well. Beautiful clarity, looks like a lightly patinated copper. On swirling, it leaves a thicker coating on the glass and has more legs and heavier body than George T. Stagg or Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
First Impression: Sweeter than the Eagle Rare. Sichuan pepper, tamarind, dark fruit/berries,Yenedje Sobranie tobacco, with hints of corn sweetness, leather, sweeter than a rye bourbon.On more warming: char, oak, toffee, some spiciness, grain and a faint trace of hazelnuts.
Taste: Slightly sweet start, with the a taste like dried papaya, interesting char and caramelized sweetness race around each other leaving a bouquet of dried fruits and warming, medium mouth feel, very delicate like a overprooof cognac (if there is such a thing) in terms of the interplay of barrel char, sweetness and fruit.The delicate warming and numbing from the contact anesthesia of the high proof is unlike most quite pleasant and very much belies the high proof. Feed me a couple of Manhattans with this and I will follow you home. Especially if you have a bottle of this back there.
Drinks: Snifter at full proof is an amazing exploration of what is possible with a bourbon and a Master Distiller. The Manhattan and Whiskey Sours we made (with Van Wee’s Angostura Bitters made some brave men (and women) weep with joy).
Cigars: Works well with a mild to medium cigar. Maybe a Robusto or Torpedo, cuts the nicotine well but doesn’t overwhelm the bourbon.
Final Thoughts: The last substance I had this good was emergency scheduled by the DEA in 1984 (for the record I haven’t used it since then). I am putting this in my Advanced Directive (Living Will) – smother me with a rag soaked in this when it is my time.
Bottle: Same bottle as all the antique series, labels are of course
somewhat different. The long, thin, clear glass, and small labels show
off the color of the whiskey to good effect. The clear glass bottom lends a
nice visual effect and give the bottle a decanter type feel and weight.
Colonial script is silk-screened on the bottle and a small paper label near
the bottom has an age statement and relevant dates. A printed rectangular
label on the back has a has a piece that would be much better suited to a hang tag or shelf talker so you could see the whiskey more, otherwise you have to hold the bottle sidewise to see the color (or soak the damn thing off!).
Fast loading with a slightly annoying intro (no need for it). This however is
followed by a display of all the bourbons they make (over 20, not counting
overseas variations). Extensive information and good pictures of each one, with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations.