When it comes to sought after bottles, the lineup from Buffalo Trace's Antique collection, often referred to as "BTAC" because, well, laziness, are some of the most hunted, most coveted bottles in the bourbon world. Each fall the Buffalo Trace Distillery releases limited amounts of these bottles that filter across the country, many never making their way to a shelf before being funneled off to someone's good friend Bob, flipped on the Secondary Bourbon Market or set on a shelf at some bourbon museum with a 50x multiplier over the MSRP. A few bottles do find their way onto the shelf at retail, and those stories of friends, family and other Bourboneurs who've walked into a store and walked out with a William Larue Weller or other BTAC bottle for dirt cheap are the reason so many of us continue to be interested in "the hunt."
The Hunt for Rare Bourbon
Before we get into BTAC, it's probably worth the question, have you started preparing for "the hunt?" If not, it's not too late to refer to the Bourboneur Guide to Rare Bourbon Hunting which has just about everything you'll want to consider as you contemplate catching a unicorn in wild. We detail how to scout for opportunities, build rapport with your local liquor stores without being thought of as some pesky annoying pain in the you know what, developing your credibility through the almighty dollar, finding opportunities to increase your odds at capturing a unicorn (no net or specialized equipment required), using social media to your advantage and most importantly, dealing with defeat.
With that out of the way, lets dig in to BTAC; below we detail everything you need to know BTAC, and then some.
What is the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection?
Batting at the top of the order is a five-bottle collection of some of Buffalo Trace's most coveted juice, which is released annually, each fall, to great fanfare with this year's drop expected in October. Yes, that's just a smidge more than a month away! Please, try to contain yourself.
The 2023 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Whiskeys
Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old
You may be familiar with Eagle Rare, which is a ten-year-old bottling from Buffalo Trace. Take an already great bourbon and give it seven more years in the wood and you get this gem. Expect enhanced flavors of caramel and coffee, with a draw of oak and pepper.
William LaRue Weller
Sitting at the top of the Weller line, this high proof wheater is in some ways a ramped-up Pappy. Expect some cherry and graham crackers, with a dollop of oak and chocolate.
Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old
The lowest proof of the lineup, expect a lot of bright flavors out of this rye, notably apples and some spice, hinting at anise, finishing with a chocolate/coffee/date sort of cresendo.
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
There's the super cheap Sazerac you go out and make mixed drinks with and then there's the Handy. It's a spicy sip, but a good one. This rye packs a punch and delivers a lot of brown spice notes with a solid underlying spearmint note that's pervasive from start to finish to make sure you know it's there!
George T. Stagg
Uncut and unfiltered, this bourbon has a unique sweetness that blends perfectly with an underlying earthy/fruitiness. There's a lot to unpackage, and all of it is so so good.
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