Tag Archives: Buy Again

Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Bourbon – Review


Eagle Rare 10Eagle Rare 10 Year was until recently a single barrel Kentucky Bourbon. It still has its 10 year age statement, but is no longer sold as a single barrel. Buffalo Trace indicate the change is result of moving Eagle Rare to a higher capacity bottling line to better meet demand. Because of this change, apparently it’s more difficult to bottle this brand one barrel at a time. It’s made at Buffalo Trace Distillery from their #1 low-rye mash. The brand was created by Charles Beam and introduced in 1975 by Seagrams. The Eagle Rare brand was acquired by Sazerac in 1989. A 18 year old expression sits in Buffalo Trace’s annual Antique Collection, but the original Eagle Rare was a 101-proof 10 year Bourbon. The 101 was discontinued in 2005 and today we have the 90-proof bottle.


10 Year age statement. Uses Buffalo Trace’s #1 mash. Guessed to be about 8% rye. Bottled at 45%, MSRP – $29.99 (2016 Price)


Jammy. Fruity sweet. Lots of apples. Honey and grapes. Oak w/ some char. Vanilla. Grilled dessert. Maybe a little cola in there


Light and sweet. Honey and apples carry through from the nose. Corn. Some tartness in the finish. Nice oak flavor. Wood astringency dries out the finish a little. A little watermelon? Not a lot of rye to balance out the sweetness. Crisp and sweet with warming finish.


Things seem to quickly transition from fruity sweetness to drying oak. Just not a ton of character and length in there. Oak and tannins really linger. Another sip refreshes the fruity sweetness and reinforces the oak. Oak may dominate a bit, but it really balances out the initial sweetness. Very nice. Initially seems a little dull and heavy on the oak/tannins, but keep sipping it seems to build layers. Refreshing. A warm weather whiskey.

Depending on the mood, Eagle Rare 10 might not fit the bill. It’s not too complex and it lacks richness. For what it lacks, it has a nice wood presence and is supremely sippable. Nice Bourbon on its own and even better for the price. I’ll be keeping this one stocked.

Eagle Rare 10 Rating

Buy Again – 4/5 Rating

Eagle Rare 10 Links

Elmer T Lee Single Barrel Bourbon – Review

Elmer T Lee BottleBuffalo Trace makes a number of products with their #2 Bourbon mash. This mash is a little higher rye content than their #1, but the rye actually isn’t too assertive. #2 mash is thought to be around 13-15% rye and the #1 is somewhere just south of 10%, so not a huge flavor difference. It seems just a little more spice than the other branch of products. These Bourbons are said to age around 8-10 years, but have different flavor profiles. Difference between these drinks basically are the warehouse location and barrel selection. You would think with the same distillate, they would be pretty similar, but they’re surprisingly distinct. Unique, but basically members of the same family.

Elmer T Lee is my first stop on the #2 mash train future stops include Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock’s President’s Reserve, and Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star.

Elmer T Lee Background

Lee started with the company in 1949 as a maintenance engineer. The year after he retired, Buffalo Trace launched this Bourbon in 1986. Lee agreed they could use his name as long as he could personally selected the barrels. That sounds like a nice retirement. Lee continued to do so into his 90’s and there appears to be a plan in place to continue his legacy. He passed away last year at 93.

Lee’s favorite warehouses at Buffalo Trace are I and K and that’s where we generally get Elmer T Lee. This compares to Blanton’s, which come from Albert Blanton’s favorite Warehouse H, for example. Lee’s favorite drink is Elmer T Lee with 7 UP on ice, but here we’ll drink it neat.


No age statement, but said to be aged 8-10 years. Rumored to use Buffalo Trace Mash #2 which is thought to be about 13-15% rye. It’s bottled at 45%. MSRP – $34.99 (2016 Price)


Fruity with apple cider and honey. Caramel. Vanilla. Woody oak. I got a little bread/biscuit.


Toasted oak, caramel. Rich vanilla. Some dark sugars – toffee maybe with brown sugar. Nice rye spice. Sweetness is there, but balanced. Finish I get more toasted oak and vanilla with some mild alcohol. Alcohol seems is on the edge of being solvent-like. Pretty nice overall.


This is great. I go back and forth a bit with Elmer T Lee and Blanton’s. Seems more flavorful, but Blanton’s seems more refined and lack the hint of fusel alcohol I get here. Right now I’d give Blanton’s an edge, but that could change with my mood. Very well done with some character, but no rough edges. As you pour glass after glass, the bourbon reveals a smiling Elmer T Lee from the inside. If I were in this bottle, I’d be smiling too. A great bourbon.

My price on this was $34, which seems a great deal for such a great whiskey. For the price, buy some and grab an extra to enjoy after that’s gone.

Elmer T Lee Rating

Buy Again – 4.0/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Comments, corrections, suggestions?

Elmer T Lee Reference Links

Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon 2003 – Review

Evan Williams Single Barrel Background

Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003Info on Evan Williams Single Barrel according to Heaven Hill’s Evan Williams site: “Each year our Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam select barrels that meet their exacting standards. It’s a bourbon that is vintage dated, meaning each bottle is marked with the vintage date it was put into oak and the year it was bottled.”

The Evan Williams Single Barrel 2004 bottling has been released and is making its way through retail inventory. I haven’t seen it yet in Michigan, but I’m not exactly asking to pull down bottles to check. Since the new release is here, thought I should give the 2003 bottle some attention.


Barreled: 2/28/03, Bottled: 10/26/13, Barrel: #989. Rumored to use Heaven Hill’s low mash 78% corn, 10% rye, 12% barley. 43.3%. Paid $30.


Caramel and vanilla. Corn, honey sweetness, oak, char. Perfume. Toffee, brown sugar. Fruity.


Apples, oak, a little buttery. Cinnamon. Sweet. Light smokiness in the finish. Low to medium rye spiciness in the finish. Some alcohol warming.


There’s balance here. Seems dark sugars and vanilla with a good dose of oak. Hint of smoke is interesting in the finish. Everything seems held in check and nothing really jumps out. Just a well put together Bourbon. When you factor in the price, there’s even more to like.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.0/5 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Evan Williams Single Barrel Links

Evan Williams Single Barrel
Drink Insider
Sour Mash Manifesto

Four Roses Single Barrel – Review

Four Roses Single Barrel Background

Four Roses Single BarrelFour Roses Single Barrel is distilled at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. They brew two separate grain bills, one with a 35% rye and the other a 25% rye. Although one is lower percentage rye, Four Rose’s recipe are still much higher than typical Bourbons.

Back in the day when Seagram was making a lot of Bourbon they had many different yeasts used in different distilleries. Four Roses Distillery was one of these distilleries. The goal was to bring a level of consistency between distilleries utilizing different yeast profiles. As the Bourbon industry declined, Seagrams shut down distilleries and some of those yeasts made their way into production at the Four Roses Distillery,

Today five of those yeasts remain in production, which with the two mashes give Four Roses 10 distinct recipes. These recipes allow Four Roses to achieve a higher level of consistency, like with Four Roses Yellow Label, and also a distinctly different product like in Four Roses Small Batch.  Another interesting option is to get a barrel-proof version of each of the 10 recipes through a Four Roses Private Selection.

Reviewed here, Four Roses Single Barrel is a standard release that always uses the same recipe. The specific recipe used is OBSV, which is their 35% high-rye mash and their V yeast strain.


Warehouse GW Batch 55-3R. OBSV recipe of 60% corn 35% rye, and 5% malted barley. Their V yeast strain is said to provide a fruity character. Bottled at 50%. No age statement. $42 Shelf Price. (2016)


Oak. Fruity cherry, pears. Caramel. Sweetness. Maybe some honey. Vanilla and Cinnamon. Adding a little water seems to bring out the fruitiness and sweetness.


Spicy, cherry fruit tartness, A little drying astringency in the finish. Toasty, maybe a some licorice. Oak seems fairly assertive. Sweetness seems to turn on as you sip. Spiciness and alcohol dance on the tongue and holds on through the finish. A little sweeter it seems with water. The oak seems to scale back. Spice is still prominent.


I’m a Four Roses fan, so I love the Four Roses Single Barrel. One thing that’s great about Four Roses is they give you a lot of info about the Bourbon in the bottle. If you want to have some fun, you can try barrels from different warehouses and tiers. Four Roses code their warehouses by letter and direction. So, this bottle came from the west side of Warehouse G (GW). Four Rose’s warehouses are also single story warehouses, which is very unique, and they stack the barrels six high. This barrel is a center cut barrel on the 3rd tier and the R or 18th barrel in the row.

Endless fun.

Anyway, Four Roses touts the word mellow, which in no way should be confused with “smooth.” Smooth, to me, is toothless and boring. Mellow is dangerously easy to drink and Four Roses Single Barrel has that. I love the big minty rye spice, fruitiness of the yeast, and mildly chocolate/coffee roast flavors from the charred barrels.

Some days it’s a toss up whether I like Four Roses Single Barrel or Four Roses Small Batch better. They’re both similarly good, but still significantly unique. For me, the Four Roses Small Batch is $10 cheaper, so I think that’s a good place to start and maybe a bottle to pull down more regularly.

Four Roses Single Barrel Recommendation

Buy Again – 4.5/5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options

I like to offer some options for similar Bourbons around this price. Feel free to investigate other reviews for further research.

The most obvious is the mentioned Four Roses Small Batch. Bulleit is an interesting option since up until recently it was distilled at Four Roses. Rumor is it’s a younger version of the five high rye recipes. Ridgemont Reserve, Breckenridge, Basil Hayden, and  Bulleit 10 Year are more high rye Bourbons worth checking out.

Four Roses Single Barrel Links & Reviews