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Distilled in spring of 1985 and tanked some time before 2015, today's review comes to us in the form of a legendary entry in Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection - Sazerac 18yr Rye. Said to be the final year of their tanked rye, this batch is comprised of 25 barrels that all matured in Warehouse K. Given I have some other entries in various vintages from the BTAC line, and a fresh bottle of the off the shelf 6yr Sazerac Rye to compare with, I've been looking forward to this review greatly. Let's get to it.
Rich ginger, fruits and clove. Tons of complexity here, along with a really prominent buttery sweetness. It's not savage or aggressive like most year's Thomas Handy releases.
Thick, rich, oily on the palate. First sweet, with notes of toffee, some cherry and blackberry, then satisfyingly spicy. Rich clove, some ginger, black pepper and a dash of cinnamon. While not hot, it has the mouth feel of a much stronger rye, and the filtering isn't easily noticed, if at all.
Long, decadent finish. More oak, spice and dessert here than fruit, which is cool by me. The toffee, buttery richness and integration of clove and oak are all spot on.
This is really something. I like it better than the 2012 bottling I had, and I'll be sad to expect this bottle to change in future years. This is so close to a perfect rye, and I think 90 proof is a fine point for this, but I bet a couple more proof points would easily set it in history as the perfect rye. I also bet it makes a pretty good Sazerac cocktail.