Eagle Rare vs Elmer T Lee Buffalo Trace Mash Comparison
I’ve done a number of Buffalo Trace comparisons, including exploring the differences between Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare, and how Mash #1 transforms from unaged white spirit to the powerhouse Stagg Jr. This time, I’m comparing Eagle Rare (this one a Potomac Wine and Spirits single barrel) and Elmer T Lee to find out how different two single barrel bourbons made from slightly different mashes might vary.
I hypothesize that mash #1 and #2 aren’t as different as we think. At their core, both mashes only differ by a few points in rye and corn, so can two well-known single barrel bourbons with the same proof but different mash be that different? Admittedly Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare, both using mash #1, had some noticeable differences, but let’s find out how a mash #1 and mash #2 bourbon compare in this Eagle Rare vs Elmer T Lee comparison.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each Buffalo Trace bourbon.
How do they Compare?
And the winner is...
Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Eagle Rare Barrel Select beats Elmer T Lee in this Buffalo trace single barrel mash comparison. Not to say that this Elmer T Lee is bad, but this particular Eagle Rare Single Barrel happens to be rounder, richer, and sweeter. A number of small things add up to an overall noticeable difference. If the radar chart were more granular, you would see that more of Eagle Rare’s traits lean towards moderate-strong while Elmer T Lee’s are closer to moderate or light-moderate.
While both have similar foundations, Eagle Rare has more honey, caramel, buttercream, and cherry, but a little less orange and anise than ETL, making it sweeter. Eagle Rare also has a little more oak and cinnamon, making it a little spicier and oakier than the Elmer T Lee, although the heat is comparable. The sweetness in Elmer T Lee is slightly toned down, so it comes off a tad sharper on the nose and thinner when tasting, making it a little less interesting. Even though Elmer T Lee has slightly higher rye content, with a little more anise and eucalyptus on the nose and
finish, the differences to Eagle Rare are subtle.
There are a few interesting takeaways from this comparison: 1) Mash #1 and #2 aren’t as different as you may think, and 2) Eagle Rare store picks sometimes are comparable, if not better, cheaper, and easier to find, than Elmer T Lee. Elmer T Lee has the benefit (or misfortune) of rarity and hype, but this Potomac Wine and Spirits Eagle Rare Barrel Pick is the better bourbon.