Published on December 9th, 2013 | by Siz0
Sazerac Rye – “Baby Saz”
- Kind of Spirit:Rye Whiskey
- Distillery:Buffalo Trace
- Alcohol Percentage:45%
- Color:Reddish Amber
- Aroma:Caramel, Cloves, Fruit
- Average Price:$35
As part of my quest to try and find some part of the Buffalo Trace Antique collection (BTAC) this year I came across this Sazerac Rye, also known as “Baby Saz.” It’s not necessarily part of the BTAC, but it’s always released around the same time as the BTAC each year. It has also been equally difficult to find. So I considered it a win that I did find a bottle. The reason it’s also referred to as “Baby Saz” is because it’s older brother is the Sazerac Rye 18 year which is part of the BTAC.
There’s a long story about how this rye whiskey came about. Most of the stories go along this line. In New Orleans at the Sazerac Coffee House locals were served up a concoction with a rye whiskey. This cocktail became known as the Sazerac henceforth. So when it came time to name this rye whiskey that was used in the recipe the name was obvious “Sazerac Rye”. The Sazerac Coffee House eventually became the company that owns and distributes this brand. Guess what they decided to call themselves… The Sazerac Company, I love the complete buy in of this name and a nice tribute to the history of New Orleans.
The Sazerac Company has quite a few other brands under their umbrella. According to their site:
Today, we are still an independent, American family owned company and proud owners of many of America’s most venerable distilling companies – Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman, Glenmore Distillery, Barton, Fleischmann, Medley and Mr. Boston.
If you think of all the brands that just come out of the Buffalo Trace distillery it’s truly impressive how many brands this company owns / manages. Well, I think that’s enough about the brand and some of the heritage about this Sazerac Rye. It’s time to get into the whiskey and experience some New Orleans history!
I absolutely love the bottle of this Sazerac Rye. It has a nice clean labeling. In fact there is not even a label on the bottle. It’s almost like an etching of white print on the bottle. The front logo is very classic looking and it takes you to another time period. It almost has a calligraphy feel to it, and it makes me think of a time gone by. I’ve personally never been to New Orleans, but for some reason it makes me feel like this is how all the signs look down there. They all have these big swirling letters with accented lines and some sort of floral design woven throughout. It reminds me of a saloon, filled jazz music. I wish I could find a better way to describe this, but you know sometimes that old saying really does apply. A picture is worth a thousand words:
Once you get past the non-label on the front you’ll realize that you can see the entire contents of the bottle. This whiskey is a beautiful dark amber color. It has that nice reddish hue that I see in most ryes. The bottle is an interesting shape as well. It has a fairly tall slender neck, but the body of the bottle is somewhat squatty. It’s also very boxy and almost forms an octagon type shape to it. It definitely makes it easier to grip, so maybe that was part of the design for bar tenders back in the day? All I know is that I’m a big fan of the packaging of this Sazerac Rye. It’s clean and crisp and to the point. Can’t argue with that.
Alright, I’ve given myself a decent pour into my Glencairn whiskey glass and I’m ready to give this Sazerac Rye a swirl! The first thing I noticed right off the bat is a big dose of caramel and sweetness. There is a very solid spice that is hitting on the back of the nose as well. It’s bringing a little water to eyes in fact. Once that intensity dissipates it begins to open with a nice light fruity note backed with a hint of clove. I’m even picking up some nice white pepper along the way. Very intricate and complex nose and personally I love it! I guess I’m a bigger rye fan than I previously thought. One of my favorite bourbons the Four Roses Single Barrel has a ton of rye in the recipe and the similarities are very distinct. I guess I know that I need to pick up some more ryes at the liquor store next time around!
To be honest I was a little disappointed at the palate of this Sazerac Rye. It felt a little thin and not as complex as the nose. Similar notes where there, I picked up a nice fruity note with a citrus hint to it. The spice showed up and hit the outer edge of the tongue. The flavor was very crisp though, that might be the reason it felt so thin. It hit quickly and didn’t linger around too long. I wasn’t able to pick up on much more through the palate which left me a little unsatisfied.
The finish on this whiskey is also very crisp. I feel that it didn’t stay around long enough. It’s interesting, sometimes you want the spirit to linger and see what develops in terms of flavor. I think if this Rye would have stayed around a bit longer on the finish it could really develop into something special. I picked up notes of fleeing citrus and a slight bitterness on the way out.
Sazerac Rye: 8/10
Judging by the write up of the flavors especially from the palate and finish you probably think I didn’t enjoy this rye whiskey. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact I was very impressed with it overall. I just had trouble pulling out all the unique flavors because I felt like they left so quickly. Overall it was a very good whiskey and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wish it had a bit more depth to the palate and finish. I’m not sure if that’s due to the age of the whiskey, but it just feels a little thin. I personally would prefer something with a bit more character to it. Overall, I really enjoyed this Sazerac Rye. It has an incredible nose and the flavors are there you just have to do some searching for them.
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