Whisky Advocate

Live vertical tasting: five straight vintages of Sazerac Rye 18 yr. old, this Wednesday on Twitter

October 5th, 2009

My live Twitter review for this week is a continuation of my review of Buffalo Trace Antique Collection whiskeys. This week, I’m expanding it a bit, and this should be very interesting!

In addition to reviewing the new 2009 release of Sazerac Rye 18 yr. old, I’ll also be lining up the four previous vintages too (2005-2008). I tasted each one of these when they were originally released, but it will be fun to line them up and compare them side-by-side!

Now, here’s what makes this even more special! Since the 2006 vintage, the whiskey being bottled is the SAME whiskey. (Including Jim Murray’s Whiskey of the Year in the 2010 Whisky Bible.) It has been sitting in stainless steel tanks to prevent the whiskey from additional oak influence. However, the one thing that has surprised me (and many others) is that this whiskey changes in flavor every year. So yes, whiskey does CHANGE (I won’t call it aging) while it is stored in stainless steel.

If you’re not doing anything, join me this Wednesday @ 4pm EDT on Twitter ( If you have any of these vintages, pour some in a glass and follow along with me.

5 Responses to “Live vertical tasting: five straight vintages of Sazerac Rye 18 yr. old, this Wednesday on Twitter”

  1. sam k says:


    Have you ever determined if the whiskey was preserved by the addition of inert gas as the level in the tank was reduced, or perhaps by the successive use of smaller containers? I’m wondering if the perceived change is actually from the contact with stainless, or just a result of increased oxidation.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Sam, no inert gas was used. And they finally did (last year?) move the whiskey to smaller SS containers. I’ll get more detailed when I post up my review of the 2009 (and compare to previous vintages).

  3. butephoto says:

    A good tie in with the release of the Bible there. Looking forward to this as I love Sazerac Rye, but don’t seem to get much of it very often.

  4. John Hansell says:

    Yeah, it was just a coincidence really. But I’ll tell you already, butephoto, that I have tasted the past five vintages of Sazerac Rye 18 y/o a few times already (and with fellow whiskey enthusiasts) and the 2008 vintage (Jim Murray’s whisky of the year), while still nice (I scored it an 87), was our least favorite.

    In fact, my one friend who was tasting these whiskeys with me last Friday night (a seasond whiskey drinker) was really bummed after we went through the past five years of vintages. It turns out the bottle he bought last year was the 2008 vintage.

  5. Lee says:

    Sazerac 18 is my favorite whiskey year in and year out. I wish I was able to obtain more of it.

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