The first time I ever tried Eagle Rare was at a coworker’s desk as we had the last couple of ounces of his bottle. It certainly wasn’t the place or time to do a full writeup but the taste stuck with me. I’m so glad I finally got to sit down and give it a full treatment.
The experience begins with the bottle which is tall and clear which means there is nothing to hide. You immediately see the rich maple and honey colors. Very traditional. Very inviting. Once poured, your nose fills with a sweet and relatively strong aromas of vanilla, caramel, clove, and almonds.
The taste is surprisingly stronger and dryer than the nose would imply. It’s light mouthfeel immediately gives a bite of alcohol on the sides of your tongue. Yes, the caramel taste comes through as does some complex flavors of anise and a bit of nutmeg. It reminds me of a rye so I shouldn’t have been surprised by the long, dry finish that gave a hint of oak and a bit of rye bitterness.. which is a good thing in my book.
It was interesting to read the label and see the distiller suggests enjoying Eagle Rare neat or over ice rather than as a Manhattan or whiskey sour. As I’m not a fan of whiskey sours in -any- form, I decided to only test the Manhattan. Short answer: I have to agree. While the Manhattan was good, it wasn’t great. You certainly loose some of the complexity and spiciness.
Eagle Rare lives up to it’s name as it is rare to find a modestly priced bourbon with such a rich taste profile. At this price, fewer still stand out as being best neat. Go get some and try it for yourself. Just be careful if you take it to work. Someone like me might just show up and drink the end of your bottle!