Eagle Rare 10-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; Buffalo Trace Distillery; Frankfort, KY; $35/btl
I have a simple philosophy. Whenever someone offers to buy you a bottle of whiskey, always choose something expensive! Make sure it’s a hard-to-find, rare gem. That way, it will always be special! You see, the harder they have to work for it, the more fun you get to have when you drink it. You get to sit down with that wonderful sipping-sauce in your hand and enjoy every last drop because you know that they went way out of their way to get it for you.
Sounds fun, am I right?
Especially if it’s your mom.
So, yeah, my mom wanted to buy me a bottle of whiskey for some reason or another and, naturally, I got on the interwebs and started hunting for something neat. As is my tradition, I was looking for an interesting label that said, “Hey, we paid our intern a ton of money … well, er, um, we paid this college kid a nice sum of ramen noodles to design a label.” And wouldn’t you know it, I found Eagle Rare 10-year.
Now, who can resist that gorgeous bald eagle swooping down to yank some poor, unfortunate fish out of the lake? Or maybe he’s reaching out to snatch a glass of Kentucky Bourbon from his handler? I don’t know, and it doesn’t specifically say. As with all good art, there’s a bit of room for interpretation. All I know is that the label stood out to me, and anyone who reads my stuff (which is pretty much no one) knows full well that I’m a sucker for a well designed label.
“Mom,” I say, “I want a bottle of Eagle Rare.”
“Okay,” she says as if she knows better.
Turns out, Eagle Rare is named specifically for us Idaho folk, because finding it here is like some kind of reality TV show challenge or something. It seems a bit strange that a whiskey like this would be so hard to find, but in this state it is. Well, outside of McCall, anyway. Why they get it and none of the local liquor stores do is beyond me, but I suspect it has something to do with snobs. At least, that’s what I’m going with. And I don’t drink no snob whiskey! At least, I don’t drink no snob whiskey that requires a 2-hour drive.
Couldn’t get it. That’s the short story. The long story required a trip to Portland back in March of 2021 whence my wife found it (along with three of its pals) at a liquor store in some booneyville metropolitan village south of Portland where my friend lives. They had four bottles of the stuff just sitting on the shelf like they owned the place. And to think those silly girls only brought back one bottle?
Anyway, they found it and bought it. That evening we opened that skinny little turkey up and poured a couple glasses and went to work on it. We learned that Eagle Rare’s finest characteristic is its uncanny smoothness, which is a bit like licking a butter dish. It drinks easy with a subtle front end, a sharp slide across the sides of the tongue, and a pleasant, oaky kick to the back of the throat. It’s the kind of whiskey you want to get drunk on, but that would be silly, because after two or three shots what’s to enjoy? No, get drunk on the easy to find, cheap stuff. Eagle Rare is for sipping and tasting and sipping and tasting and … you get the picture.
Here’s the funny thing. I had my friend, Mike, from the Whiskey Wonder Podcast over and we did a blind tasting with eagle Rare 10 year, Uncle Nearest 1856, and Longbranch, and I knew which one of those three was going to win, because Eagle Rare is just that good. And then wouldn’t you know it, the winner wasn’t Eagle Rare, which is weird. Longbranch won that night, with Eagle Rare sitting in the middle. So, why is Eagle Rare on my Bottom Shelf and not Longbranch? Because stories matter, and they have a great deal of affect when it comes time to sit in front of a favorite.
While my mom wasn't able to find it, she did try, and that means something to me. Had she found it, she would have bought it for me. What I got instead was a rather middling bottle of Four Roses Small Batch, which isn't all that special. And when I was able to find Eagle Rare I learned that it was worth the hunt. Winner of a tasting or not, it's good stuff, and I'll take it any day of the week!
Eagle Rare 10-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Who is this guy?
I'm just an average, ordinary, everyday Ken, and nothing more. I like wine, whiskey, and beer. I write when I'm bored (and to prove it I've published three books). I like to garden, work with wood, and laugh with family and friends. Ken's Bar is an expression of my enjoyment of adult beverages of all shapes and sizes, but especially whiskey. My tasting notes are as much about stories and connections with people as they are about fluffy, snobbish adjectives. I've tasted a lot of whiskey (including the costs-way-too-much Rip Van Winkle stuff) and decided to start writing about it. Or something. So, sit back and read. If you can.
How do I rank?
Cost per Bottle:
$ - $0-$25
$$ - $26-$50
$$$ - $51-$75
$$$$ - $76-$100
$$$$$ - Over $100
* - Swill. Dump it out.
** - Mix it with coke
*** - A good sipper
**** - Straight from Heaven.
***** - Heaven called and wants its whiskey back!
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