Drinks company Hi-Spirits is expecting strong demand for the “very limited” UK allocation of whiskeys in the annual Antique Collection from the Buffalo Trace distillery.
The Kentucky distillery is releasing lower-than-expected volumes of several of the five-strong collection of bourbon and rye whiskies because of the unpredictable nature of barrel ageing. The Antique Collection will arrive from the US at the end of October.
In particularly short supply will be George T Stagg, the uncut and unfiltered bourbon which has twice been named the best in the world. The 128 barrels in which the whiskey for the 2015 release was aged have only yielded about 20% of the original spirit due to high evaporation levels.
Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Demand for the Antique Collection has been growing year on year from bars, special retailers and whiskey aficionados, and this year’s low production levels will make it more sought after than ever.
“Distillers call the whiskey that evaporates while ageing in the barrel the angels’ share, and it seems the angels have taken a real liking to the Antique Collection.
“As always, we’ll be prioritising loyal Buffalo Trace trade customers, and sadly this year we’ll have to disappoint some potential buyers.
“However, anyone in the licensed trade will be able to get a taste of the 2015 Antique Collection over the coming weeks at our free trade master classes across the UK.”
Drew Mayville, master blender for Buffalo Trace’s owner Sazerac, will be going on a mini-tour around the country with stops in London, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh, as part of a wider Buffalo Trail programme of events. Visit www.buffalotrace.co.uk for details of events.
The five 2015 Antique Collection whiskeys are:
- George T Stagg, the powerhouse of the Antique Collection which has been bottled at a high 69% ABV this year. It contains bourbon from barrels filled in the spring of 2000, and the small quantity remaining is said to have notes of espresso, molasses, chocolate, vanilla, and dates.
- William Larue Weller, The Antique Collection’s uncut, unfiltered, wheated recipe bourbon, was named the “Second Finest Whiskey in the World” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015. The 2015 offering was distilled in the spring of 2003 and, bottled at 67% ABV, it is one of the stronger Weller releases. The flavours include toffee, nougat, and figs.
- Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye is an uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey, which was named World’s Best American Whiskey at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards. This year’s release is bottled at 63.5% ABV, with fig, clove, and allspice flavours.
- The 2015 edition of Eagle Rare 17 Year Old has been aged for 17 years and tastes of oak, tobacco, and dates. The 2014 edition of this bourbon was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.
- The 2014 Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old was named the third finest whiskey in the world by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015, and American Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate Magazine. This 2015 straight rye whiskey has molasses and allspice flavours.
Hi-Spirits is having limited supplies of the 2015 Antique Collection air-freighted to the UK for a series of special Buffalo Trace events from October 4 to 10, including the master classes with Drew.
Buffalo Trace will have a high profile at The Whiskey Exchange Whisky Show in London on October 3 and 4. It will also reprise its popular Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar, located this year in Shoreditch throughout London Cocktail Week which runs from October 5 to 11. Details at www.londoncocktailweek.com.
Recommended prices in retail for the Antique Collection are expected to be in the range of £130 to £150.