When people ask about bourbons to try for people that aren’t familiar with bourbon, usually people recommend Buffalo Trace. The other bourbon that frequently gets recommended is Eagle Rare.
In my area, as of this writing, Eagle Rare is less, uh, rare, than Buffalo Trace.
I actually did not buy a bottle in my area. I found it in a 375ml sized bottle in my neighboring state, along with 750ml and 1.75l (handles). I had never seen a regular, big-name, middle shelf bourbon in 375ml or a handle before (excluding popular bottom shelf bottles like Evan Williams).
Given the availability of a smaller bottle to satisfy my curiosity about Eagle Rare, I jumped at the chance.
The nice thing about Eagle Rare, is that it comes across as smooth, a word hated by bourbon purists. I think they would prefer balanced to describe it. While there is some mild spiciness, it isn’t aggressive. Some of the heat comes from the alcohol, and some peppery heat from the rye. It is sweet, sort of a caramel, but not sugary sweet. There is a fruitiness, to me, almost a mild cherry. There is good bit of charred oak in the aroma as well as a decent amount in the flavor. Given it’s 10 year age statement, it would be disappointing if it didn’t have an oak flavor and aroma.
I like Eagle Rare far more than I like Buffalo Trace, although I want to revisit and update my post, since I only left an overview of the bottle without much detail.
Age: 10 years!
Proof: 90 (45% ABV)
Price: $20 for 375ml (Virginia ABC)
Buy Again: Yes, if I can find it, and if the price doesn’t go through the roof