weller antique 107 review

Potomac Wine and Spirits Eagle Rare Barrel Select Review

eagle rare 10 potomac wine and spirits

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 45%

Composition: Mash #1, speculated to be 75% corn, 10% rye, 15% barley

Aged: 10 years and 3 days in virgin American white oak

Color: 1.2/2.0 on the color scale (chestnut, oloroso sherry)

Price: $38 (750mL) from Potomac Wine and Spirits

From the Buffalo Trace website:

“Eagle Rare 10 year old Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey has a sweet, oaky nose and full, complex body. Reminiscent of a fine port wine, this rare whiskey is best served neat, or over ice. Of course, feel free to drink Eagle Rare in such classic cocktails as the Manhattan or Whiskey Sour.”

Link to the Buffalo Trace Website

weller antique 107 review

Eagle Rare Barrel Selects (aka barrel picks) go back to the brand’s traditional single barrel roots, allowing each barrel to showcase everything that’s great (and/or potentially flawed) about that whiskey. I’m very happy see that Eagle Rare barrel picks are becoming more frequent again, because they’re a great way to smell and taste how the same whiskey can be different solely on barrel selection.

Speaking of barrel selection, in this review, I dive deep into Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Eagle Rare Barrel Select, brought to you and me from Potomac Wine & Spirits in Washington DC. This 2019 Barrel select comes from barrel 09-E-19-P-5-15-006 and was aged for 10 years and 3 days in warehouse P, floor 5, rick 15. Fun fact: Buffalo Trace actually responds to emails regarding single barrel details, so thank you to Susannah for providing that barrel info. The standard Eagle Rare 10 release is a solid bourbon, so let’s find out how good this specially selected barrel is in this Eagle Rare barrel select review.

weller antique 107 review

Sweet honey, spearmint, oak, and dried citrus peel initially greet my nose, followed by vanilla, cherry, cinnamon, and clove. This Eagle Rare Barrel Select definitely has a stronger mintiness than I remember in the regular Eagle Rare, as well as a dark underlying breadiness and musty oak and corn note. The alcohol bites my nose a little from time to time, but it’s nothing too intense. 

 

Swirling lures out stronger caramel buttercream with spiced citrus oil, musty oak, and dried corn with fresh wintery pine. A little carbonated citrus, apple, and peach come next, but I would not call this Eagle Rare Single Barrel super fruity. The slightly riled-up heat adds to the wintery and carbonated smell. 

Honestly, this Potomac Wine and Spirits Eagle Rare Barrel Select doesn’t offer any surprises, but nonetheless still smells very nice. It’s just smells like a very good bourbon.

weller antique 107 review

The Potomac Wine and Spirits Eagle Rare Barrel Select begins with sweet caramel and spicy cinnamon followed by slightly sweet and minty vanilla frosted cornbread that was slightly burnt. The combination of mint, caramel, and vanilla also forms a gentle bubblegum-type taste. No surprise, but Eagle Rare has a balanced oak bitterness that is just enough to complement the sweetness. The alcohol is also in line with what I expect 45% should be, so nothing out of the ordinary.

 

“Chewing” brings out more interesting flavors including sweet honey, cocktail bitters (e.g., Angostura bitters), oak, citrus, and fuji apple followed by cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and mint. There are lighter vanilla, malt, and sweet bread notes as well as some slightly grassy and floral character. It’s not particularly forward, but this Eagle Rare Barrel Select has a constant herbal anise, dill, and licorice quality from the rye that adds an extra dimension. There’s quite a lot going on in my mouth as I chew through everything and keep finding something fun. 

 

As the main flavors fade, the aftertaste leaves me with honey drizzled apples, slightly bitter oak, anise, and mint followed by drying citrus oil and peel. “Chewing” leaves sweet bread, corn, and oak with a sprinkle of dried citrus that fades into long lingering minty roasted oak. There’s a lot to enjoy in this Eagle Rare Barrel Select, but what’s great about it is frequently dulled by the lower proof.

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Mid shelf+

Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Eagle Rare Barrel Pick is a very enjoyable and balanced bourbon that doesn’t offer any challenges or surprises. Given its maturity, personality, and proof, it’s easy to drink yet fairly complex and interesting. There’s a nice blend of sweet, spicy, herbal, and bitter traits that play nice with my taste buds, and sometimes that’s what I need. If you like Eagle Rare, you’ll like this and other barrel picks. If you don’t, this probably won’t change your mind. 

 

As good as Potomac Wine and Spirits’ Eagle Rare Barrel Select is, I still can’t help but wish that the scents and flavors were a little bit stronger. I generally feel this way about Eagle Rare, so it’s not a unique knock on this barrel select. I primarily say this because Bulleit 12 Year Rye, clocking in at “only” 46% alcohol, is so full, developed, and interesting at nearly the same proof. Lower proof is not an excuse for less character, especially for 10+ year old whiskey. Regardless, I definitely would buy more Eagle Rare Barrel Selects and you can’t go wrong with one either.

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