Eagle Rare 17 YO Spring 2012

ER17 Spring 2012

Reviewed by
Connosr member:



15th Apr 2014

Reviewer rating:


About this score:

  • Nose: 23
  • Taste: 24
  • Finish: 23
  • Balance: 24

Best price to buy online:

Tasting Notes by Victor

Eagle Rare 17 yo is one of five whiskeys included in the Sazerac Company's Buffalo Trace Distillery's Antique Collection. The Antique Collection has its main release in the fall of each year, but there are also occasionally releases in the Spring of the year also. The reviewed bottle is form the Spring 2012 release. Eagle Rare 17 is produced from Buffalo Trace Mash Bill # 2, which contains an industry average rye content of approximately 15%. ABV is 45%. The reviewed bottle has been open for 2 months and is 90% full

Nose: sumptuous maple, oak, vanilla, natural caramel, and baking spices from rye grain. This is sweet and rich, without a single hint of bitterness. Some releases of Eagle Rare 17 need some air time to be at their best, but this one was the star at a 7 person tasting right from opening the bottle. Water brought out higher pitched sweetness, and fused the flavours together

Taste: excellent translation to the mouth, first-rate bourbon; rich and lush, with delicious clean flavours from both the oak and from the grain. Water diluted the flavours and did not add to the experience

Finish: long, with intense spice flavours at the death. Water added made the finish dilute and less coherent

Balance: there isn't much to say except that this is one of those bourbons which functions as a model to how good bourbon can be. All of these Antique Collection Whiskeys have now become so well known that they are increasingly difficult to procure, even within the United States. As a Big Flavours Guy I gravitate more to the three Barrel Proof Antique Collection whiskeys than to a more tame 45% ABV whiskey, like Eagle Rare 17. That said, let me tell you, nowadays I will put away as much Eagle Rare 17 as I can get whenever I get the chance. Forget about adding water


Whisky details


Eagle Rare


Eagle Rare 17 YO Spring 2012




Old Gold



Nolinske wrote:

Mouthwatering review as always!

16 April 2014 02:35

Nock wrote:

Fantastic review. I have yet to try one of these. Like you, when I get a chance at one of the BTAC I will pick up the Stagg, Handy, or Weller. I haven't been impressed by the Eagle Rare 10yo. How would you compare the older brother to you young guy?

16 April 2014 04:14

Victor wrote:

@Nolinske, @Nock, thanks for your kind words.

As would be expected the wood flavours of Eagle Rare 17 are much stronger than they are for Eagle Rare 10 yo...VERY much stronger. I would say that the grain flavours are stronger, deeper, and more distinctive too in the 17 yo. For a 45% ABV bourbon, Eagle Rare 17 has a ton of flavour. This would reflect the barrel selection process. My understanding is that the Eagle Rare products come from the same pool as the Ancient Age/Ancient Ancient Age brands, which are also made from Buffalo Trace Mash Bill # 2, with about 15% rye content (Blanton's SB and Elmer T. Lee SB are also made from BT Mash Bill # 2). The very best long term agers and those with the deepest flavours would go to the Eagle Rare 17 yo (maybe 40 barrels worth each cycle approx.= 5,000-7,000 bottles +/-). Next they would divvy up which barrels could stand alone as Eagle Rare 10 yo Single Barrel. The best of the older remaining barrels would become Ancient Ancient Age 10 yo, though it appears that production of AAA10YO may have recently become discontinued. The barrels which need to be dumped around 6-7 years become Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, and what is young and left over goes into standard 40% Ancient Age, the limited release 45% Ancient Age, and the very occasional 50% Ancient Age Bottled in Bond. Nota Bene that Ancient Age Bottled in Bond is the only one of any of these AA/AAA/ER products sold at 50% ABV.

I would describe this process of sorting as "whiskey triage".

16 April 2014 15:59

Nolinske wrote:

@victor That's really fascinating thank you! I have heard people slide to this but I never had someone explain it. It's just incredible how the aging can make all the difference in bourbon.

17 April 2014 02:40

Frost wrote:

@Victor a great read in the review and your follow up comments.

26 May 2014 10:47

Victor wrote:

Well, I read in some online sources that Eagle Rare 17 yo and Eagle Rare 10 and 17 yo are actually made from Buffalo Trace mash bill # 1, which has the same low rye content at around 8% as does standard Buffalo Trace bourbon and George T. Stagg. If that is true, then my nice whiskey triage description, in the comments above, is inaccurate regarding Eagle Rare bourbons being in the same sorting process as are the Ancient Age/Ancient Ancient Age bourbons. There goes one more fondly held nice and tidy explanation up in smoke.

This leaves me rather unsatisfied, because to my mind the flavours of Eagle Rare 17 and George T. Stagg are quite different from one another, despite very similar age and supposedly the same grain mash bill. Either there is a radical sorting process of different-tasting barrels going on, or...what else? A different yeast being used? I do not know the answer here. But, one thing is for sure, diluting George T. Stagg down to 45% abv does not make it taste like Eagle Rare 17 yo.

Some reports put the rye content of Buffalo Trace mashbill # 2 as low as 10-12%, which makes it relatively close in rye content to Buffalo Trace mashbill # 1 at around 8%. Despite the purported differences in mashbills I still maintain that there are very strong taste similarities among the Ancient Age, Ancient Ancient Age, and Eagle Rare products. To my palate, even if AA, AAA, and ER are not sorted together as a group as described above, they still TASTE as though they were.

26 May 2014 12:59

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