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.
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.
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.
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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