Sazerac Rye – Single Barrel Store Pick!

Single barrel #057 selected by PlumpJack Wine & Spirits (2022)

MASH BILL – undisclosed low-rye mash bill

PROOF – 90

AGE – 6 years

DISTILLERY – Buffalo Trace

PRICE – $42


Early in my whiskey journey I went through a bottle of standard release Sazerac Rye. It seemed a classic, must-see stop on the whiskey journey. I liked it okay, finding it a bit too candy sweet for my tastes. But it was fine and fun, and I’d checked that box off the list.

That was some years ago, and memory being what it is I wanted to revisit it. Several months ago I came across a mini bottle and took it home. I enjoyed it more than I had previously. It was good. But still not something I felt compelled to get a full bottle of for the home shelf.

Then this PlumpJack single barrel came out, and I figured that would offer another interesting angle. Sazerac’s bourbon cousin, Buffalo Trace, is a brand I don’t enjoy much in its standard release but have taken to in single barrel outings. Maybe Sazerac Rye would be similar for me.

So here we are, nearing two weeks after uncorking and a third of the way into the bottle. These brief notes were taken using a traditional Glencairn.

COLOR – very nice pale amber oranges

NOSE – autumnal, fresh rye spices blending seamlessly with bright baking spices like cinnamon and brown sugar, some crisp yet easygoing dry oak paired nicely with a sweet caramel, a hint of cherry hovering among those notes

TASTE – the caramel leans forward now, surrounded by the rye and baking spices, the dry oak balanced nicely against a thin but still syrupy texture, and just a bit of prickly warmth from the very relaxed 90 proof

FINISH – the warmth lingers surprisingly long given the proof, with the rye spice, baking spice, caramel, and milk chocolate passing in succession like clouds on a blue sky.

OVERALL – an easygoing, flavorful, sweet rye whiskey

Very easy to drink. Very enjoyable in the moment. And very fleeting in the memory. This particular single barrel has enough oak to it to counterbalance the sweeter aspects, such that, like oakier Buffalo Trace single barrels I’ve enjoyed, I don’t find the sweetness cloying.

Rye is a favorite area of whiskey for me. There is something rambunctious about rye grain. I like its wildness. Sazerac is fairly well behaved in that regard, like a rowdy puppy that’s been trained into obedience—still sweet but no longer apt to surprise. When I want to enjoy a rye without thinking too much about it, this bottle will be great. And for a Sazerac Cocktail it’s of course a no brainer.

The price is nice, and that helps. A six-year single barrel rye for ~$40 is increasingly rare. And though ultimately I prefer to put my money and palate toward wilder experiences, there are times when these easygoing whiskeys are just what the doctor ordered.


Five O’clock Somewhere

Of course I had to make a Sazerac Cocktail. Here’s how I’ve been doing them lately. Pretty straight forward:

  1. Chill a tumbler and another glass in the freezer.

  2. Once the glasses are thoroughly chilled, pour 1/4 ounce St. George Absinthe into the tumbler and swirl it around the sides to the level the other ingredients will eventually touch. Put it back in the freezer.

  3. Pour 2 ounces of Sazerac Rye into the other chilled glass and put it back in the freezer.

  4. Do other things for about 15 minutes, including scraping off a nice wedge of lemon zest.

  5. Swirl the Absinthe in the tumbler again, then dump it out. Immediately pour the chilled rye whiskey into the tumbler.

  6. Add 3 dashes of Peychaud’s and 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters to the tumbler, plus a teaspoon of maple syrup (simple syrup is more common), and stir it up. Give the lemon zest a twist above the drink and drop it in the glass.

  7. Drink that Sazerac!
    🥃 ☜

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