It’s been a busy week for us here at Cut The Cap. London Cocktail Week is in full swing and there’s events-aplenty going on in London. But as exhausted as we were, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to sample some of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s finest bourbons when they invited us to a special one-off event at Edward Sahakian Cigar Shop in the Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge.
On show for the evening was Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Eagle Rare 10 Year, Eagle Rare 17 Year, Thomas H Handy and one of our personal favourites out of the old US of A, George T Stagg. Accompanying these fine bourbons? A Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2. One of the finest mild cigars out of Cuba and a great pairing when you really want the flavours of the drinks to prevail over the cigar.
For those who don’t know much about Buffalo Trace, they’re actually one of the oldest bourbon makers in the world having survived through prohibition and countless socio-economic problems in the states which says a great deal about the quality on show here. It’s no chance they’ve made it to the present day as one of the more well established distillers. Their Buffalo Trace bourbon named after the distillery is a testament to how a great bourbon can be great and not cost the world. A sweet flavour palate that’s well-balanced between the corn and rye used in creating it give a smooth drink that goes well in just about any cocktail. The old-fashioned we ‘sampled’ is a great testament to this.
The Eagle Rare itself is a completely different kind of bourbon. The spiciness of the rye is more prevalent with the corn in the sour mash just underlining the flavour which makes it drink more like a scotch than a bourbon. It’s a great introduction to bourbon for scotch drinkers.
Now here’s where it got interesting. Thomas H Handy is one of the most sought after bourbons in the world, as is the George T Stagg with many retailers restricting the number customers can buy. Currently Master of Malt restrict Thomas H Handy to just ONE per customer. So what’s the craze over these bottles? Only a tasting can truly do justice. Thomas H Handy is a sweeter bourbon, much like a Sazerac cocktail which is why the bottling is actually called Thomas H Handy Sazerac. A strong hit of spice mellows out on the palate with sweet caramel and cinnamon, it’s a great alternative for Rum lovers. It’s also a straight rye whiskey meaning that no two years will be the same so they’re highly collectible. Would we want to buy a bottle and not drink it though? Hardly.
Last but not least was our personal favourite, the George T Stagg. “Straight out the barrell, uncut, and unfiltered” is the description by Buffalo Trace. And boy-oh-boy can you taste it. Don’t make the mistake of bringing it to the nose too quickly as the potency of the Stagg is like a shotgun peppering you in the face. A strong spicy kick is quickly followed by tropical fruits, coconut as mentioned by our host is prevailing but there’s also beautiful molasses and pineapple underlying. This is a big contrast to toffee and dark berries that we found from the 2013 bottling. 2014 also has a ABV 5% higher than last year and you can tell. The alcoholic content really gives you that smooth burn as it goes down that we love from great scotch whiskies.
Want to know more? Or how to get your hands on the latest releases? hit up buffalotracedistillery.com and really badger them! We’d hate for you to miss out on some of the best bourbons we’ve had the pleasure of trying.