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Old 04-28-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
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Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

Despite its annual release as a member of The Antique Collection, through the years I have always regarded this as a single product. I mean, if you're going to get right down to it, every distillation of a mass produced whiskey like Knob Creek could potentially be a "different" product than the last release.

So, in an effort to create some sort of guideline for myself, and after I found out how much those lists of mine have caught on as guidelines for others, I've always treated this as a single product. This particular product happens to occupy No. 6 on my all-time rye list. And despite the new ryes being released over the past few years, including the supposedly unique, super-aged ryes which are simply too ridiculously expensive for me to even think of spending that money on even when I do have it, the world of rye whiskey is still a pretty bare landscape.

The Sazerac 18 year old rye, always 90 proof, is a label that has stood the test of time. After not having it for the past few years, and falling in love with it during the early part of the century, I recently came upon a bottle of the Fall 2007 release.

God has obviously blessed the land the grains grow on, the aquifers that Kentucky water flows through, and the efforts of the distillers that produce this masterful rye whiskey. Year after year, bottle after bottle, with only slight variation in flavor profile, and all of them being anywhere from very good to outstanding, this rye has remained a consistent winner.

With Nos. 1-3 on my all-time rye list now being extinct, No. 4 being an annual release which may vary widely in its impressions, and No. 5 being almost impossible to come by, this would be the one to look for if you want top quality rye whiskey. Of course, it's not going to come cheap but it's well worth the bucks if you have them, and if the piddling amount your local liquor merchant gets ever leaves a bottle available to you.

The basic flavor profile is candy, liquid candy, with a gentle touch of that rye spice, softened markedly by its extreme age, covered with a wash of oak and maple syrup, with hints of orange peel throughout each sip. And that's the story on this worthy old favorite of mine.
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

My father used to order a "Sazerac cocktail" before dinner. Any relationship to that whiskey?

No matter how good it is, it's unlikely that I could ever get any up here in Washington: the state supplies our liquor stores, and seems only to provide the stuff that's either very popular or very cheap.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

That's sort of an apples and oranges discussion, although there is a bit of a link between the two. For the very interesting and storied history of the Sazerac Cocktail, . . .

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Beverage ... cktail.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sazerac
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

Thanks for the links.
Did you notice that the recipe appended to the Wikipedia article calls specifically for Sazerac Rye Whiskey?
I have to assume, from lack of specific information, that the Sazerac Bar gave its name to both the cocktail and the whiskey. True?
Since the Sazerac Whiskey you wrote about is "candy" flavored, am I correct in assuming that it is a fortified or sweetened whiskey something like (ugh!) Southern Comfort? Or is the sweetness organic to the liquor and its aging?
Sorry to be a pest, but I have no real personal experience with rye. I have tasted a Scottish single-malt scotch that was organically sweet, due to the barrels in which it is cured, but it isn't available in the US.
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:17 AM   #5
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

Yes, somewhere along the line Sazerac rye whiskey, which is not the same product today as it was back then, became associated with the cocktail. There's loads more information on the net about this story, and also the guys and gals at the Straight Bourbon web site are consummate experts. Today, the name Sazerac applied to anything has more to do with name rights than any other factors.

As for the "candy-like" flavor, that's strictly my palate's interpretation and yes, it's totally due to the aging. Sazerac 18 year old rye whiskey is a pure, unflavored whiskey, no additives, just a wonderful, well aged spirit. Rye, or bourbon with a heavy rye percentage in the mash bill, generally has a sharp, spicy component, but extensive aging balances that with more sweetness.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:19 AM   #6
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

Steve,

Check out WA State's liquor board website. You can find quite a bit that is not at the normal stores. Also you can figure out what store it is at so you don't waste your time. Your local store will also make orders.

Martin
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: Sazerac 18 Year Old Rye: A Revisitation. . . .

Originally Posted by RedLeg0811
Steve,

Check out WA State's liquor board website. You can find quite a bit that is not at the normal stores. Also you can figure out what store it is at so you don't waste your time. Your local store will also make orders.

Martin
Thanks for the input.
We live in a fairly inaccessible location. Thus we are stuck with the "normal" stock carried by our one local liquor store.
For anything else, it's a one-hour-each-way, $40.00 ferry ride to "the USA" (as we islanders call the mainland).
If I knew what to order, I would place a special request. But the proprietor isn't much help, since she doesn't drink (!).
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