Around this time each year, Buffalo Trace drops BTAC, perhaps the hottest and most elusive lineup of bourbons and rye in American Whiskey.

George T. Stagg Bourbon, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Whiskey, Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old, and William Larue Weller Bourbon are all accounted for this year after Stagg sat out in 2021 due to quality issues. While bourbon hunters gain bragging rights by sleuthing out these high-demand/short-supply bottles at the suggested $125, most of us will be subjected to extreme markups. So happy hunting, BTAC fanatics. May the gods of MSRP be with you. Here is a breakdown of the 2023 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.

George T. Stagg Bourbon

Vitals: 135 Proof (67.5% ABV); $125

This extra-aged version of Stagg (formerly Stagg Jr.) is aged 15 years and four months in warehouses C, I, K, L, and M. This barrel-strength behemoth approaches haz-mat alcohol levels, clocking in at 67.5% ABV and was barreled in 2008.

How Does It Taste?

Aromas of cinnamon spice and cherry cola lead to leather, chocolate, and vanilla flavors on the palate, mixed with an expected pop of heat from the elevated ABV.

William Larue Weller Bourbon

Vitals: 133.6 proof (66.53%)

WLW is a barrel-strength wheated bourbon, and this 2023 bottling was distilled in 2011, aging 12 years in warehouses C, L, M, and N. As always, this William Larue Weller is non-chill filtered and packs a punch at 133.6 proof; this bottling will be particularly sought after by multitudes of Weller devotees.

How Does It Taste?

Brown sugar and vanilla aromas lead to stewed cherry and more brown sugar on the palate, concluding with a big, boozy finish with baking spice and maple.

Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old Bourbon

Vitals: 101 Proof (50.5% ABV); $125

Distilled in the spring of 2004 and clocking in at 19 years and three months, here is the most mature bottling of Eagle Rare in BTAC’s 23-year history. Born of Buffalo Trace Mashbill #1, this expression was aged almost two decades in Warehouses C, I, K, M, and Q.

How Does It Taste?

Buffalo Trace tasting notes promise dark chocolate and cherry pie aromas, leading to a palate of “caramel-drizzled chocolate sponge cake” and a spicy, dry finish of earthy cigar box.

Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old Whiskey

Vitals: 90 Proof (45% ABV)

This 18-year-old version of the classic Sazerac Rye cocktail vehicle is definitely a sipper. This batch was distilled between 2004 and 2005 and laid to rest in Buffalo Trace Warehouses K, L, and M.

How Does It Taste?

Dried orange, rye grain, clove, and aniseed on the nose turn to flavors of classic vanilla, black pepper, and oak, capped by a honey-sweet and floral finish balanced with tobacco.

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey

Vitals: 124.9 proof

Though it’s made in Kentucky, no spirit around today speaks to the history of New Orleans like Sazerac Rye and the cocktail by the same name. And Thomas Handy played a significant role in popularizing both in the mid-19th century. Thomas Handy is a Sazerac’s cask strength, non-chill filtered rye, and this year’s bottling sits just over 62.4 proof.

How Does It Taste?

Orange zest, lemon oil, caramel, and pine on the nose lead to flavors including rye spice, orange jam, and honey. The finish features gentle oak and licorice.

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