2021 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Reviews by Fred Minnick


October 19, 2021

Fred Minnick dug into the 2021 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which this year consists of four releases — Thomas H. Handy, Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old, William Larue Weller and Eagle Rare 17 Year Old. The annual George T. Stagg release as part of the highly-anticipated collection was canceled because the barrels did not meet the distillers’ standards for the bourbon, according to an announcement from Buffalo Trace.

Fred took to his YouTube channel to review the whiskeys one by one, before jumping into blind tastings to see how they measure up to other similar, but more available, whiskeys. Here are Fred’s reviews:

Fred is usually not a fan of Eagle Rare 17 Year Old (101 proof), but this one hit him just right. “This is really complicated,” he said, “Easily the best representation of Eagle 17 Year Old I can recall in my career. This is really quite splendid.”

William Larue Weller (125.3 proof) is another hot commodity in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Fred didn’t care much for the nose, but once he got into tasting, he found notes from cinnamon bread to jalapeno jelly to dehydrated orange. He said, however, it follows a different flavor profile than any other William Larue Weller he can recall. “It’s so different and so unique … you kind of get excited about it,” he said. “I really like it.” For fans of Wild Turkey and dusty drinkers.

As for the 2021 Thomas H. Handy Rye (129.5 proof), it came across to Fred as an old-school rye. The flavors were pungent, rounded rye notes. “This just takes me back. This is how whiskey used to be. … That makes me think I’m back on a train in the 1880s, writing a novel about the old West.” Finishes with herbal candy and cherry cough syrup (in a good way).

The 2020 Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was a finalist for Fred’s 2020 Whiskey of the Year. Did 2021 Sazerac 18 Year Old (90 proof) hold up? It didn’t take long for the whiskey to take over his palate. “This is beautiful. This is an elegant, elegant whiskey.”

Watch the videos to get Fred’s full tasting notes!