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Sazerac Rye

Young Sazerac, Old Bottle

1 585

@VictorReview by @Victor

5th Dec 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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Victor commented

Almost 6 years open, this bottle is now at its best. I'd score it 22-22-21-21 now, total 86 points. US ryes are often very good open multiple years.

7 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

I take great comfort in knowing someone else sits on open bottles. There are few reasons why a bottle in my cabinet would be opened for a lengthy period: 1) brilliant example of its genre and deserves to be preserved. 2) vile, disgusting, underwhelming slop which has yet to be tanked....and 2b) an anomaly, such as Collingwood 21 YO Rye. @Victor, I look forward to continuing this discussion with physical evidence; I have some exhibits selected.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

@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'.

7 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

@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.

7 years ago 0

Victor commented

Sazerac Rye! Today's sample is the best I've ever had from this bottle...opened in 2009, and still 40% full. Worth a full 88 points from me now. Some whiskies improve after multiple years of the bottle open. US ryes are frequently some of the best examples of that. Spicy, fruity, dry with a little sweet balance...what's not to like?

7 years ago 0

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