Buffalo Trace Reveals 2023 ‘Antique Collection’ Of Signature Whiskeys

Headlined by the oldest version of Eagle Rare Bourbon, the five-bottle whiskey set is catnip for collectors.

(Buffalo Trace)

Buffalo Trace’s 2023 Antique Collection has some major shoes—or bottles, if you will—to fill. The Frankfurt, Kentucky-based distillery’s collection of limited-edition American whiskey staples is always sought-after—collectors might consider themselves lucky to score one or two of the expressions, let alone the complete quintet.

But on the heels of last year’s awarded lineup, expectations are arguably higher. The 2022 Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon took top honors at the 2023 American Whiskey Masters as the “Taste Master” overall winner, while the same event saw last year’s William Larue Weller Bourbon and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey secure Master Medals and Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old earn a Gold Medal. At the 2023 International Whisky Competition, George T. Stagg Bourbon was named Best American Whiskey.

(Buffalo Trace)

There’s no saying for sure whether 2023 Antique Collection will achieve such high marks in blind tasting competitions, but if history is any indicator, chances are high. Buffalo Trace fanboys will likely look for the the Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon first, which at 19 years and three months old, is actually the most aged version of the spirit ever included in the Antique Collection’s 23-year history (the “17” on the bottle refers to the minimum age).

Presented simply in clear glass with black and brown labels, expect each 2023 Antique Collection expression to retail for $124.99, at least before they’re bought and resold on the aftermarket. Learn more about each courtesy of Buffalo Trace’s tasting notes below:

Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon

(Buffalo Trace)

This whiskey was distilled in the spring of 2004, and barrels were aged in Warehouses C, I, K, M, and Q. Eagle Rare 17 is once again bottled at 101 proof in tribute to the original Eagle Rare brand launched in 1975. The expression imbues tasting notes of dark chocolate and cherry pie filling on the nose with a well-balanced flavor of caramel-drizzled chocolate sponge cake, finishing with dry and spicy notes of an earthy cigar box.

George T. Stagg Bourbon

(Buffalo Trace)

At 135 proof, the 2023 George T. Stagg offering was distilled in the spring of 2008, and its barrels were aged in Warehouses C, I, K, L, and M. This powerful 15 years and 4-months-old bourbon is described as having scents of cinnamon and cherry cola and a well-balanced mix of leather, chocolate, and vanilla on the palate, complete with a robust, earthy finish.

Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Whiskey

(Buffalo Trace)

The 2023 Sazerac 18-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey release flaunts a scent of dried orange, rye grain, clove and aniseed, a palate of black pepper, vanilla, and waves of oak, and a florally honey and tobacco leaf finish. This collection of rye whiskey barrels was filled between the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005 and aged in Warehouses K, L, and M.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey

(Buffalo Trace)

The 2023 Thomas H. Handy expression is comprised of barrels aged for over six years. Initially launched in response to a consumer request for more well-aged and barrel-strength whiskey, this uncut, unfiltered straight rye whiskey clocks in at 124.9 proof. The flavor profile includes an aroma of orange zest and lemon oil, caramel, and hints of pine. On the palate, freshly baked rye bread spread with orange marmalade and honey appear first, followed by a lingering finish of light oak and black licorice.

William Larue Weller Bourbon

(Buffalo Trace)

Crafted in response to a consumer request for more well-aged and barrel-strength whiskey, William Larue Weller is the Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon. This year’s offering was distilled in the spring of 2011, and its barrels were aged in Warehouses C, L, M, and N. The 2023 William Larue Weller bourbon registers at 133.6 proof, surpassing last year’s proof offering of 124.7. Candied
notes of dark brown sugar and vanilla bean are found on the nose, followed by a warm and full palate with stewed cherry and brown sugar crumble and a robust, dense finish enveloped with baking spice and a hint of maple syrup.