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Sazerac Rye

Average score from 15 reviews and 56 ratings 73

Sazerac Rye

Product details

  • Brand: Sazerac
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 45.0%

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Sazerac Rye

While @thewalkingdad was here last Sunday, I was able to jot down some notes and score the whiskies that he provided from his collection. The reviews I post today (Dec 11th) will not be in-depth but more general highlights and scores of the whiskies that he provided on our glorious whisk(e)y day.

First up, Sazerac Rye.

Sample: Neat in Glencairn Bottle opened 2 months and 80% Full

Nose: Fruity. Pear, red berries, caramel, butter.

Palate: A bit plain and uneventful. Vanilla, caramel. Buttered popcorn.

Finish: This is where things get interesting. My mouth is coated in peanut and corn oil. You know, for frying stuff. Why yes, it tastes like french fries (chips for my British friends) straight out of the grease. Definitely the highlight of this whiskey because who doesn't like a nice deep-fried potato?

Overall: The end of the palate and the finish came to this otherwise boring whiskey's rescue. I have limited experience with rye whiskey, having now tried this, Woodford Reserve Rye, and Knob Creek rye. Knob Creek rye is definitely the best out of those three and the only one I would purchase a bottle of.

Really enjoy this rye, even though it's not the best rye. Waaaayyyy too drinkable. Prefer Pikesville for a few $$'s more, but I can understand why Brockmire swigs it as part of his character on that tv show.

I saw this on offer recently and was tempted. Glad I didn't take the plunge now! Thanks for the review @casualtorture


This rye was recommended to me by a bartender who said I just had to try it, since it's very hard to come by in Russia. I'm very glad I did. I've been told that this is their standard rye for mixing, but ...it's so palatable on its own!! I would love to try their 18 yo.

NOSE: Belgian strong Christmas ale, floral honey, quadrupel beer type notes again, rye bread toast, straightforward, not too complex, but deliciously satisfying. 23/25

TASTE: chewy, oily, spicy honey, toffee, caramel. That's about it. 21/25

FINISH: medium, sweet, a little spicy. 20/25

BALANCE: 23/25


@Nozinan, then "drink 'em if you've got 'em". It's a metaphor. "Smoke 'em if you've got 'em" is the kind of thing you hear in the army, when a short break is declared.

@Nozinan, LOL, I am going to keep that image of you in my mind, you physically outperforming the drunks! Wonderful! I think that I may now remember you as "quick and agile". Don't be surprised if I refer to you that way among our circle of friends the next time I see you! "Where's @Nozinan?" Reply: "I think that 'Ol Quick and Agile just went to the rest room."


This bottle has been open for over 8 months. Most of that time it has been at or below the half way mark.

Nose: Sharp rye and sweet corn notes. A little molasses and caramel covered Granny Smith apples. After nosing the Bulleit this seems more like a heavy ryed bourbon then a “rye.” This is much more sweet and sour, but also quite thin on the nose as a whole. Cherries, oak, cinnamon, hint of lemon, liquorish and spices: it reminds me of the old town store at the Cracker Barrel . . . crazy. I actually really like this nose. Not an over powering rye, but a nice balance of Rye and corn in harmony. Now a little bit of smoke. However, I don’t like the lack of power, but I have to admit I really enjoy nosing this.

Taste: Sweet on the front then is dries out on the pallet. A little sour and tartness but not bad. Sweet apple cider mixing well with rye. Smooth actually. This is my favorite part.

Finish: Nice rye wave of spices and wood. A medium blip of power that quickly settles into a nice low burn. This is spicy with plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. Decent length for the price and the ABV.

Complexity, Balance: Not as much complexity as I remember. Decent balance between the sour and the sweet. I would put it above a number of bourbons for the price.

Aesthetic experience: I really love the look of this bottle: my favorite Rye bottle ever. It just looks like the old west. I also love that they are doing it at 45% ABV. I just wish it had an age statement . . . and came at cask strength . . . oh, I guess that is Thomas H. Handy!

Conclusion: This was the first rye I tried several years ago when I wanted to make a Sazerac cocktail (a great drink in its own right). I love having a bottle of this around . . . but the more I get to know rye . . . I realize this isn't really a classic example. Still, it tastes much better with some oxidization.

Sadly, if you don't like it now . . . it might end up just being for cocktails. My bottle got a bit better (read: less sour and more smoky) after a number of months. Also, don't forget that our mood and nose also change. I think it is all about connecting the changing spirit with our changing moods. When I don't like something I let it sit for a while (read: many moons). Often either it or I will come around. If not . . . time for a cocktail.

Good to hear about the oxidation. I recently some baby Saz and, so far at least, I have not been impressed with my bottle.


The deep copper color of this whiskey is fair to behold. For me, the fun stopped there in the glass without something to mix with it.

While this stuff is great for mixing drinks, it ain't made for sippin' at least not to me.

Yes, I taste a hint of cinnamon, cherry pits, white pepper, and maybe a touch of mandarine oranges upon first taste, but I also detect rotten ferns, forest loam, and wet red dirt in the summer time.

I like mixing Sazerac with Fentimans products. The dandelion and burdock mix is excellent, as is the Cherry Tree Cola, Curiosity Cola, Traditional Ginger Beer, and Ginger Beer. All of these work well with mulled lemons, lime, and/or organges. I usually just take a glass orange squeezer and then run a little water over it to get some nice pulp into the drink as well. Serve with ice and sliced lemon and orange.

By the way, you needn't spend more than this bottle of Sazerac for a great sippin' whisky. For instance, Buffalo Trace is excellent and cheaper than the Sazerac Rye. Then again, Buffalo is not "rye." Teachers Highland Cream is also quite good for less money than the Sazerac, and it is a sippin' whisky (with over 40% single malt scotches in it).


Sazerac has a lot of meanings. It is the name of a big spirits company, the name of America’s First cocktail and, most interesting for us, the name of a straight rye whiskey. Supposedly, the name comes from a French importer of cognacs, Sazerac du Forge et Fils. In New Orleans, in the famous French Quarter, there is still a Sazerac Coffee House. The company Sazerac owns, among others, the Buffalo Trace distillery, where this rye whiskey is produced today.

The nose is very round and sweet, with a somewhat sourish but pleasant touch in the background. As if it contains a drop of balsamico. I like it. The obligatory caramel and vanille are present, but are supported by fruit. Crushed banana in liqueur, blood oranges, coconut, eucalyptus and pine needles. Spicy too: pepper, nutmeg and a pinch of aniseed. Yep, you can easily put the stamp complex on this one.

It is a bit creamy and very feisty on the palate. The first thing I notice is the spiciness and the bitter oak. But with this Sazerac, everything is balanced. The bitterness does not go over the top. Citrusy zestiness, candid sugar, blood oranges again, rye bread, cloves, cinnamon and eucalyptus.

The finish is long, peppery and fades very gently, while the oak keeps singing. Aniseed on the deathbed.

Yes, this is very good. The most deserving rye I have tried to date.


So my wife and I have been planning on going to the whisky bar in our city for months now. Every time we make plans SOMETHING always come up. I get called into work a day early, we can't afford to go out, a public holiday that we forgot about is occurring on the day we're going and they're closed or as just happened this last time around, my wife and I got sick.

This has been extremely frustrating for me as this bar has quite a few whiskies I've been meaning to try for a while and so as the day was ending yesterday I was feeling a wee bit down. To the rescue comes my brother in law! I get a text message from him saying "If you can't go to the whisky then the whisky shall come to you!"

A couple hours later my brother and sister in law arrive at the house and he brings with him a bag of whisky. In this bag are a couple whiskies I've never had before along with a couple I've tasted.

First out comes the Macallan 10 yr old Sherry Casks which I've just reviewed. Next comes the Sazerac Straight Rye whisky. Now I love rye whiskies. I enjoy the flavors that come through and this is my second time getting to drink Sazaerac.

As I nose this lovely little rye, which is the second one my brother in law has bought (you can tell he's a fan!) The strongest smell to come through is rye (wonder why that is hahaha) along with some oak, vanilla, burnt apples and cinnamon. This is a 90 proof rye, but the alcohol does not dominate the smell. Quite nice.

Tasting time! I take a sip of my dram and the flavor of rye bursts into my mouth followed by vanilla, apples, cinnamon, burnt sugar and some sort of wood most likely oak. Again even though this is a 90 proof whisky it is extremely smooth and I can easily understand why my brother in law buys bottle after bottle of this. He likes it for Old Fashions, but as he says he does enjoy it straight. For my money I'd probably just drink it straight, although that's just been my mood that last year or so.

The finish is nice and smooth with spices lingering on my tongue, but not unpleasantly. There is a bit of bitterness, but thankfully it never takes over the finish and it quickly recedes.

This is a bottle that I'd love to have in my cabinet when I'm in a rye mood and it isn't too hard to find over here in the Land Down Under for around $100 AUS.

Next up on the tasting list a bourbon! Johnny Drum 15 yr old! WEWT BOURBON!!!

Hahaha it's customs. I generally import my own bottles now, but for every bottle I bring in it's a $60/$65 dollars and then there's a 5% of the bottles value fee...It's crazy!

On the other hand JEALOUS OF YOU!!! :D

$100?!! They must fly it to Australia first class.

US$ and AUS are about the same right now aren't they? Probably excise taxes.

Not to rub it in, but I just picked one up for $30.


As whisky love goes, I have been first and foremost a rye whiskey lover for the past couple of years. For this reason, I had great expectations of Sazerac Rye when I first bought a bottle of it two years ago. I liked the name. I liked the graceful bottle design. I liked the tales of the cocktail associated with the whiskey. But I found my bottle of "Baby Saz" just boring, repeatedly boring. The reason I have never previously done a review of this whiskey on Connosr is that, even though others are very enthusiastic about it, I have never much cared for it.

I have learned, though, that if a whiskey is quite popular and I don't like it at all, then there is a very good chance that either my bottle of it hasn't yet opened up to its full flavours, or, I got a bad bottle or a bottle from a bad batch. I still didn't like "Baby Saz" much at 18 months of my bottle open, and had only chipped away at 1/4 of the bottle over that time. Now, two years in, and maybe 4-6 months since I last sampled it, my bottle of Sazerac Rye Whiskey tastes more open in its flavours than ever before. Opening of flavours is common after bottles are opened and left for a time, but it is relatively rare for it to take so long for the full flavour opening to occur. The Sazerac Rye flavours always had focus, but they were way too restrained for me to enjoy-- until now. So here's the review at two years of the bottle opened. At 18 months or less this whiskey would have rated from me 74 pts.

Nose: this nose has really become good. Rich bright rye spices approach those of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, its slightly older hand- selected sibling. Sweet, spicy, and very delicious. There are good wood flavours here too.

Taste: lovely palatal greeting, crisp, well-defined, sweet, with plenty of spice, and the right amount of wood.

Finish: There is a slight bitter note on the finish, which I find discordant. Otherwise the finish is a good continuation of a good palate.

Balance: this bottle has come a long way in two years, with blossoming rye spice now marching to the beat of a disciplined drummer. Even though I am liking this bottle of Sazerac Rye as never before, I will stick with prefering to drink Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye or a good release of Sazerac 18 Rye in the future.

@paddockjudge, you have proven that you are quite capable of providing physical evidence of many a whisky. I look forward to tasting your samples.

I do like to keep samples of whiskies on hand for reference, and for this reason am reluctant to completely finish off the last remnants of a bottle. Even so, the main reason I sit on so many open bottles is that it is difficult to drink down 150 bottles. Having given maybe 20 away, and worked to finish others, I am now down to 100, maybe as few as 90, open bottles. It still seems like a lot, and I hate to see any whisky go 'off'.

@Victor, Amen brother! I had peaked at 90 open bottles last fall; currently I am under 60. Without a doubt, careful stewardship is required to reduce losses. Some bottles will experience diminished quality, but that is a hazard which must be endured; however, without experimenting and allowing the whisky to bloom and evolve, one can never achieve 'the next level' with some whiskies.

The freedom to choose and the enormous enjoyment derived from having scores of open bottles is nothing short of incredible. I can sip from 5 or 10 different rye expressions one week and then shift to single malts until the leaves fall from that tree and then select another season, as you have so aptly coined these phases. One advantage to having a large cabinet is the elimination of hurrying to finish a bottle to get to the next one.


Colour of honey in the glass, good legs - subtle aromas of rye bread, toffee, caramel, Twizzlers. Explosion in the mouth (the opposite of subtle!), a little overpowering - burnt sugar, charcoal, honey on toast, long deep finish with hints of caramel popcorn. A real oomph of a rye that puts me in New Orleans state of mind!

Nice review!

I think the "honey on toast" flavor is a great description. This is the rye I recommend for people that mostly drink bourbon. It seems to be an easier transition than some of the other spicier ryes.

Also, it is similar to Hudson Manhattan Rye or FEW Rye (for any readers around Chicago who are lucky enough to get their hands on some).


This is one of a few ryes which I have been sampling lately. While there is nothing flawed with this, in my mind it lacks some complexity and depth that might make it better. I prefer other ryes (see my other reviews) although this is a nice change of pace and might be good as a mixer too if that is your thing.

On the nose, there is the smallest hint of something sweet like cloves or allspice perched atop a base of more powerful briny, nutty smells.

In the mouth, at first a short wave of sweetness hits the tip of my tongue. Then there is something almost earthy and organic, minty, spicy and almost vegetal that is hard to place. A deep note of something sweeter would be appreciated in what strikes me as an otherwise dry and somewhat hot drink. Others have described this is as sweet but I don't taste it quite that way.

The mouth feel is dry and chalky with a dry, medium length finish.


As I piece together my whisk(e)y cabinet, I look for representation of various styles within the sectors of Scotch, Bourbons, etc.

As an introduction to the rye style of the spectrum, I read that "Baby Saz" is a great introduction to the world of rye whiskey.

Thanks to what I've read in this forum and with direction specific from @Victor, I said hey, "why not", and picked up a bottle.

This dram review is tasted neat, in a 12 oz. snifter, hand warmed.

Nose: A spice cabinet of cloves, cardamom, nutmeg with some vanilla and rye underneath.

Palate: Sweet sugar on spicy rye. So smooth with a nice, easy coating viscosity and hint of minty oak.

Finish: Those spices seem to come in and out in waves that slowly recede as the rye (thoughts of rye bread) lingers in a pleasant medium-long spicy, minty mouth filling finish.

Balance: Steady and smooth as she goes with the rye raising the curtain and taking a tasteful bow during each act of this show.

What a smooth, impressive introduction to rye whiskey. I'm not sure if this is a good analogy but I've always been a lover of seeded rye bread. This Sazerac has a lasting finish like it's liquid rye bread...sweet and tangy!

Excellent review. I'm vacationing in Florida right now and I was looking very hard at a bottle of this tonight in the liquor store after reading your review; of course we don't get this type of rye in Ontario. The manager of the store was very nice and gave me a free dram of Laphroaig 18 and it just stole my heart so I bought it instead of the Sazerac. I might have to go back for the Sazerac tomorrow though!

@michaelschout...I'm glad you enjoyed the review. I agree, if I was given a choice of Laphroaig 18 and the Saz, the L18 wins.

With that said, I hope you go back to the watering hole and get the Saz (and maybe another bottle or two of another style) to add to your bunker. Variety is the spice of life and especially true with a variety of whiskey's including a rye.

Enjoy your vacation in FL! Where in FL?


This is a bottle worth having in your bar both for mixing and sipping on its own.

It makes a great Manhattan, especially if you do not like your Manhattans too sweet. It's a good step up from Old Overholt for mixing and still not too expensive. It is made by Buffalo Trace, whose straight bourbon is also one of my favorites.

It is truly a pleasure to sip neat. A great nose, smooth -- not harsh at all -- the taste is spicy with notes of cinnamon, cloves, cherry, vanilla, and ginger. Reminds me of spiced cider. The initial sweetness develops into a bitter-sweetness. A pleasing spicy and slightly sour flavor is present throughout. The finish is fresh and almost minty with a touch of anise. Clean -- my wife does not cringe when she kisses me after I've had some.

I would recommend it, I'm a big fan. tony

Very nice bottle. Ryes are starting to intrigue me. I may buy this one in particular only for the bottle design, love it!


Reviewed by @WTC

0 1489/100

This is in our new Grains tasting and is one of our favorites

Dom says "A delight from start to finish. This is a great example of American rye, spicy but not in the slightest bit sharp, acerbic or aggressive. But the fun of this whiskey is at its core, where you can find rich and irresistible dark chocolate cherry liqueur and some menthol and hickory. The finish is long and delightful."

combined notes: Nose: Vanilla, clove, anise and pepper Taste: Candied spices and citrus Finish: Smooth, licorice and smoked pepper

@WTC, gosh, I am almost sorry to answer your question, but yes, the whiskies, including the domestically produced US rye whiskeys, are much less expensive in the US in general, and in my local area in particular, than elsewhere. Most of the recently released Sazerac Antiquities collection whiskeys have already largely disappeared from stocks locally, but you can still buy the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 2km from my home for $ 58, including taxes. I do hope that you get to taste some of the Handy, and of the previous release of the Sazerac 18 yr old Rye. Distribution of the high end Sazerac products (Antiquities Collection and Pappy Van Winkle), even in the US, is, however, bizarre and uneven. Instead of price rationing the resources here by raising the prices of the most demanded products, these products seem to be distributed through some sort of patronage system in which favored dealers get a larger ration and some shops cannot get much, if any, access to supply.

Thanks for the clarification Victor. $26 and available here at our state owned monopoly liquor stores. Worth giving it a try? Also, trying to find the Handy. Saw it at an online store yesterday, almost placed the order but didn't. Today, it is "out of stock".


Sazerac Rye is a straight rye whiskey produced by the ever-prolific Buffalo Trace distillery, makers of such great whiskeys as George T. Stagg, W. L. Weller, Eagle Rare, and, of course, Buffalo Trace. Affectionately, if patronizingly, known as “Baby Saz” and “Saz Jr.”, Sazerac Rye lives in the shadow of its older sibling, Sazerac Rye 18 year-old, Jim Murray’s darling pick for World Whisky of the year in the 2010 edition of his Whisky Bible. Having tasted Baby Saz many a night, I think it’s high time we cast some light on it and see how it shines.

The nose is of the floral, bready variety of rye. It is layered with notes of honey, apricots, butterscotch, and apple cider. With time, it develops into dry hay and a gentle bedding of brown sugar. Certain moments distinctly remind me of 7-Up.

The palate is again floral and bready; in fact, it is quite reminiscent of gingerbread. It is malty, spicy, crisp and dry, with sweet touches of apricot, honey, and butterscotch.

Some claim that Baby Saz is good, but isn’t especially complex. I think otherwise: it is balanced, nuanced, and sophisticated. And, importantly, Sazerac Rye holds its own.

Solid rye. Here in New Orleans, it's everywhere since many bars use it for the beloved cocktail this whisky is named after - the Sazerac.

Glad to see someone enjoying this whisky because it often gets overlooked in favor for the 18 year old or people just never taste it outside of a Sazerac.

@Dellnola, the rye-volution might have been a bit oversold (chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2010/06/…), but I'm glad that there are still a good handful of others lucky enough to taste this beautiful whiskey. I have bottles of the Thomas H Handy Sazerac and Sazerac 18 for future comparisons but, as I stated above, "Baby Saz" can hold its own.


Nose reminds me clearly of toffee, in addition of sweet spices. Some fruity notes in it as well.

Body is smooth, medium bodied.

Taste has rye sweetness and spicyness. Some of those fruity fragrances stay in palate. Perhaps some pepper in it too?

Overall, a very drinkable whiskey. Not too complex, but great just for enjoying.

This was for the 6 yo Saserac Rye actually. For some reason it got published as if for the 18 yo.

Love this stuff. Can be drank neat or in a cocktail/mixer. I go through 2-3 bottles a year.

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