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Oldest Ever Eagle Rare 25-Year-Old Bourbon Staves Kentucky Heat With Secret Warehouse

 

We've heard of 30 year old vintage Scotch or Irish whiskies from the likes of Macallan or Glenlivet. 21-Year-Old Scotch whiskies are not cheap but they are certainly a common sight at liquor stores. But have you ever noticed how American whiskey rarely go above 10 years old, and generally max out at 20 years at the extreme end?

The reason really lies in climate. Scotland is frigid in the winter and still fairly cool during the warmer seasons. Bourbon country on the other hand, is incredibly hot. Since most American whiskey are made in Kentucky, spirits interact rapidly with the oak when aged in Kentucky, causing even a 5-year-old bourbon to taste much oakier than a 15-year-old Scotch.  

The famous Buffalo Trace Distillery, known for its rich bourbon-making history, has unveiled its oldest expression to date: the Eagle Rare 25 Year Old. This release marks a significant milestone not only because of the age of the whiskey, but the success of the expensive experimental aging program started by the distillery decades ago.

 

 

The US$20 million experimental aging program involved meticulous tests with UV light, temperature, humidity and airflow in two experimental warehouses X and P (this release comes from Warehouse). The aim is to avoid the pitfalls of over-aging, which can make whiskey taste too tannic, woody, and dry, especially under Kentucky's warmer climate.

This new Eagle Rare 25 is the first release from Buffalo Trace's Warehouse P experimental rickhouse. This experimental warehouse was created to test the possibility of extending the aging potential of American whiskey to a period as long as whisky matured in cooler climates such as Scotland. Was it a success? Well, short of calling it one, Buffalo Trace's Master Distiller states that this expression is much smoother than usual with all the desirable flavors of old American whiskey.

"Eagle Rare 25 defies the conventional limits of typical bourbon aging... When crafting whiskey in conditions like those we experience in Kentucky, two reactions happen over time: more liquid is lost due to evaporation – also known as angel’s share – and extraction of flavors from the barrel becomes more intense, often leading older whiskeys to taste over-oaked, astringent, and dry. The unique set of aging conditions in Warehouse P has allowed us to create a 25-year-old bourbon that smooths out the extractions and highlights the desirable flavors found in ultra-aged American whiskey products.”

– Buffalo Trace Distillery Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley

 

Precisely what are these "unique set of aging conditions" are not disclosed by Buffalo Trace – we're guessing they're proprietary research data. That said, a number of drinkers who have tasted the expression at exclusive tasting sessions have expressed that it does have the smoothness of a Scotch whisky and softer tannins. 

Official Tasting Notes

Nose: Notes of intense cherry, oak, dark chocolate, and an icing drizzle.

Palate: A balance of vanilla, dark fruit, and butterscotch. 

Finish: An extremely long finish with lingering notes of rickhouse floor, baking spice, and black pepper.

As a luxury bourbon release, Buffalo Trace sees the Eagle Rare 25 as Buffalo Trace's answer to the competition posed by ultra-aged luxury single malts, the likes of 50-year-old Macallan or 65-year-old Glen Grants.  

But beyond the ultra-luxury segment, Mark Brown, Executive Chairman of Sazerac sees this as an experiment that paves the way for the future of American whiskey. Buffalo Trace will continue with aging experimentations for whiskies of various ages, perhaps even produce younger whiskeys that offer unparalleled smoothness. In a statement, Brown stated: "We may be able to produce a seven-year-old whiskey that is very smooth."

Only 200 bottles of this bourbon were released, each coming in a hand-blown crystal decanter and display box. Each is priced at a staggering US$10,000 MSRP. 

The distribution is not disclosed although we anticipate that this would be made available in major cities across the United States such as New York and Los Angeles.  

Kanpai!

88 Bamboo Editorial Team