Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

Food & Drink

Bourbon and rye whiskey devotees rejoice: This year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection has landed.

And to the delight of devout BTAC fans, the much-beloved George T. Stagg is back after an excruciating yearlong hiatus. (The distillery had deemed last year’s barrels unsuitable for the Stagg profile). “We discussed at great length how to proceed, and ultimately decided we did not feel right about lowering our standards or the age, by dipping into next year’s supply of barrels,” Buffalo Trace master distiller Harlan Wheatley said at the time.

But enough about all that. The 2022 range of whiskeys exceed expectations, as we all knew it would: There’s a solid bourbon and a bright rye with approachable ABVs, plus three stellar knockouts that clock north of 120 proof.

Here are all the details.

THE BUFFALO TRACE ANTIQUE COLLECTION 2022


GEORGE T. STAGG BOURBON (69.35% ABV)

This year’s George T. Stagg is a fine beauty, clocking in at an impressive 138.7 proof—the highest it’s ever been in the past six years. (Although you wouldn’t know it upon tasting a generous caramel- and vanilla-forward pour.) Nothing about it is excessively aggressive and it certainly doesn’t need a drop of water to open it up—but of course, I would still recommend it. The liquid is exquisite in its richness, delivering bold notes of dark chocolate and deeply roasted coffee beans. Personally, out of the five releases, I would put this forward as the best in the collection. I’m a fan of its plush mouthfeel and viscosity, which adds another layer of depth to an already complex expression. The bourbon is 15 years and five months old—and was distilled in 2007 with Kentucky corn, Minnesota rye, and North Dakota barley. The distillate was then filled into new white oak barrels from Independent Stave Company in Missouri—and were then fully matured in warehouse K.

THOMAS H. HANDY SAZERAC RYE WHISKEY (65.45% ABV)

This year’s Thomas H. Handy is a pure blast of whiskey power. At 130.9 proof, it’s up there in alcohol content—the highest it’s been in a decade. It’s strong all over: on the nose, the palate, and even the finish. Despite being lower in ABV than George T. Stagg, this uncut and unfiltered straight rye whiskey reads (and tastes) as the most potent of the bunch and is best for those who favor extraordinarily formidable expressions. It benefits from a drop (or three) of water, even for those who live for hard-hitting whiskeys. Distilled in the spring of 2016 and aged in warehouses I, L, and M, its flavor profile is dominated by dark chocolate-covered citrus rind, chicory, and anise.

WILLIAM LARUE WELLER BOURBON (62.35% ABV)

At 124.7 proof, this spectacular wheated bourbon is uncut and unfiltered—and delivers more than just a substantial hit of alcohol. One of the more extraordinary profiles in the collection, the expression teems of caramel, molasses, and your favorite chocolate cake in the richest possible way. Also worth noting: Its finish is practically everlasting, which makes it a perfect pairing for a robust cigar. Distilled in early 2010, the bourbon was aged in warehouses C, K, and N.

EAGLE RARE 17-YEAR-OLD BOURBON (50.5% ABV)

What is this chocolate-forward whiskey made of? Sugar and spice and all that’s nice. Clearly. It’s as solid and as balanced as you would want a bourbon to be: At 101 proof, it’s got just the right amount of alcoholic heft without going overboard, and the subtle hints of caramelized stone fruit and vanilla bean give its profile a massive flavor boost. There’s no going wrong with this expression: It’s straight up a bourbon lover’s bourbon. Distilled in 2005, this bourbon’s barrels were matured in warehouses H, K, and L.

SAZERAC RYE 18-YEAR-OLD WHISKEY (45% ABV)

At 90 proof, the 18-year-old Sazerac is the most accessible whiskey of them all—and perhaps the only one fit for cocktail-making (and a large ice cube, if you’re so inclined). However, I would urge you to skip all that and drink it neat to see how it unfolds and evolves in your mouth—because it does. It’s mellow on the nose and its mildly sweet tropical notes of candied pineapple and dried mango make for easy sipping. As a rye, it’s easy on the spice—but it’s most definitely there. It’s a solid pick for connoisseurs and novice drinkers alike. A real crowd pleaser, and for very good reason. Filled in the spring of 2003 and 2004, this rye’s barrels were rested in warehouses K, M, and P.

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