Sazerac Rye - 6yo vs. 18yo

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Crispy Critter
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Sazerac Rye - 6yo vs. 18yo

Postby Crispy Critter » Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:39 am

I just finished up a dram of the new Sazerac "Jr." and am now in the midst of a pour of the 18yo for comparison. For a young age, the 6yo is superb, but the extra aging of the 18 polishes out the rough edges.

Either version is well worth buying, IMO. They both share that lovely spicy-floral-fruity rye flavor.

Next time I whip up some Sazerac Cocktails (I use a variation of Chuck Taggart's recipe, with the addition of Regan's Orange Bitters as well as the vital Peychaud's), I'm going to have to try ones with each version; the last time I mixed Sazeracs, I used Rittenhouse BIB rye, which worked very well. I have a feeling that the more aggressive character of the Saz 6yo might work better in the cocktail than the smoother, more polished 18yo.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:10 am

With all respect to CC and Whisky Mag -- which named Sazerac 18 the 'American Whiskey of the Year' -- I don't find the older version very exciting. I seems very one-dimensional to me in two ways -- either all oak (from the 18 years in barrel) or all grain (much like sticking my hand in the grain bin of my farm-boy youth, and pulling it out and smelling/tasting it). The elements are not married or melded.
To the contrary, the 6yo (actually, nearly 7yo, delayed because of Hurricane Katrina's blow to New Orleans, the Sazerac cocktail and Sazerac Co.'s home city) is more complex and interesting. It makes a fine cocktail, or can be drunk neat.
Of course, different opinions are what makes comparisons interesting. In any case, try both Sazeracs -- they are evidence of the liveliness of American whiskey-making.
Last edited by Deactivated Member on Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby jimidrammer » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:43 pm

Thanks for the reviews, guys, I have been wondering about these and reading the comments over on If I can find or order them I'd like to compare, also. How would you say they compare to the Van Winkle 13yo Rye?

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Postby bamber » Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:42 pm

Along with Lagavulin 16yo, Sazerac 18yo is the whisky that made the biggest impact on me, when first tasted. For a long time it was my favourite whisky, but overtime the Van winkle Rye has eclipsed it in my estimation.

With regards comparisons to the VW Rye: Personally I find the Sazerac more complex, heavier on the over ripe berry fruit, cleaner and lighter in body. However, there is just something about the VW rye that has made it grow on me over time.

I cannot wait to try the 6yo version, when we get some over here.

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Postby jimidrammer » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:50 am

I picked up the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13yo today, since I can't get any Saz, yet. So far my conclusion is ...well...inconclusive. :?

Tasting notes:

Color: Dark reddish amber

Nose: Spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg), toasted nuts, driftwood, berry blooms

Palate: Brown sugar, cinnamon

Body: Rather thin, cloying

Finish: Orange pith, drying bitterness

Quote: Now I see why there are not too many straight ryes out there. It lacks some complexity over Bourbon. The quality is there and it’s not hard to drink, but can’t seem to find a place for it in my favorites.

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