Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Summer 2020
Eagle Rare is a historic bourbon brand, originally developed by Seagram in 1975 in an effort to capitalise on what it felt were the popular marketing motifs used by Wild Turkey. Distilled at their Four Roses distillery, the recipe was devised by Charles L. Beam and was sold as a 10 year old with both a 90 and 101 proof version available. Seagram held ambitions beyond the drinks industry however, and in an effort to diversify their portfolio in the 1980s, they sold Eagle Rare along with the Benchmark brand to the Sazerac Company. They initially bottled it using barrels sourced from Heaven Hill, but later moved production to Buffalo Trace in 1992.
The 17 year old Eagle Rare was introduced in 2000, using bourbon distilled at George T. Stagg in the early 1980s. It has been released annually every year as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, a selection of whiskies collated and in some cases created to pay homage to the history of the company and its brands. Historically a 90 proof bourbon, the strength was increased 101 proof in 2018, the first product of that strength this the equivalent 10 year old was discontinued in 2005.
A historic distillery, Buffalo Trace was built in 1812 Harrison Blanton. It was then purchased by the legendary Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr in 1870, who named it OFC (Old Fashioned Copper) and invested heavily in its modernisation. So much so in fact that he declared himself bankrupt after just seven years, and George T. Stagg stepped in to rescue it, becoming its owner in 1878. He ran the distillery until his retirement in the 1890s, and it was renamed in his honour in 1904. Having survived Prohibition, it was bought up by the Schenley company in 1933, who ran it as part of their extensive portfolio for the next fifty years, eventually selling it to Age International. The latter's new Japanese ownership in 1992 had no interest in it (only in its brands), and immediately sold it to the Sazerac company, who renamed it Buffalo Trace in 1999.