Review: Eagle Rare

For ten long years the Eagle had stayed dormant. Resting in its cask until it was time to show its magnificence to the world. Everything about this Eagle Rare screams a certain sense of pride. From its iconic logo to the snapshot image on the bottle of the eagle swooping down, seconds before the kill. This is not a whiskey that tries to be different. This whiskey is proud to be a Bourbon and ready to show the world what the category can bring.

Tasting Notes: Eagle Rare

Stats:

ABV: 45% (90 proof)

Age: 10 years old

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Owned by: The Sazerac Company

Category: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Awards: The American Whiskey Masters Master (2020), The American Whiskey Masters Gold (2017, 2019), International Spirits Challenge Gold (2017), International Spirits Challenge Silver (2019), IWSC Trophy (2013), IWSC Gold Outstanding (2013, 2019), San Francisco World Spirits Competition Silver (2020).

Chill-Filtered: Yes

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

I’m enjoying this dram on my day off, in the early afternoon. The weather has once again turned grey in the Netherlands, so I thought I’d pour myself something sweet to brighten the mood. I did so neat, in a Glencairn. Ready to see what this bourbon has to offer.

Nose:

You don’t have to dive too deep into the glass to get the nose on this one. Waves of caramel, maple syrup, and orange juice come flowing off the top of the glass. There’s some wet oak bark in there as well, the kind of smell you get when you walk in the forest on a rainy day. I’m also getting subtle hints of pine resin and a hint of varnish that tops it all off. I find myself imagining spending time in a small wooden cabin alone in the woods. Now I know that it’s almost Halloween, but it’s not the scary kind of cabin in the woods I’m imagining, it’s the homely kind.

Palate:

The first thing that strikes me on the palate is a delicate and floral honey. But shortly behind that comes a turmoil of pecans, thick molasses, and spicy cinnamon. It’s a fairly sweet palate, with the thick molasses and honey coating everything that comes in their path. But it’s not overly sweet, because the more bitter notes of the oak and pecans do a nice job of balancing it out. I’m also getting vanilla and there’s a certain buttery quality to it as well. All together it suddenly paints a picture of American Pancakes in my mind, overflowing with maple syrup, sprinkled with pecans, and topped by a single cube of butter.

Finish:

The finish has a medium length, which fits the ABV well. The oak from the nose shines through beautifully in the finish as well. But this is the place where the vanilla really starts to shine. It’s thick, rich, and warm. Almost like home-made custard. There are some savoury notes in here as well, like a dried meat but it’s very faint. Usually, I like a savoury note in my whiskies. But I find it to be a little bit disjointed to the rest of the dram here. I love mixing sweet and salty, like brownies with bits of bacon in them, but I don’t think I want that in my custard.

Verdict:

For the price I paid I think this is a Bourbon with excellent value. I found it important to immediately start with value in this verdict, because I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about how much some people pay for a bottle nowadays over in the States. Eagle Rare has become quite popular, and while tasting this dram it’s easy to see why. It’s an excellent Bourbon in its price category, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth two times or more than MSRP. Over here in the Netherlands I paid 35 euro for this bottle and for that price I love it.

This is one of my go to bourbons when I want to show people who hold a certain prejudice against bourbon, that this category of whiskies holds some true gems as well. It’s one of the better bourbons you can get, when you’re looking to get something just a step above the entry level drams.

Rating:

84/100

Value:

B+ (if you can get it for less then 40 bucks)

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes and how I determine rating and value.

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