One of the best perks about working at Beltramo’s on the spirits side of affairs is the opportunity to sample single barrel expressions of Whisk(e)ys. Representatives come from all over the country – even all over the world on some occasions – bringing the newest and most delicious concoctions from their distilleries and the staff gets to taste, explore, and play with these artful spirits. The high point of these visits has to be when we get to sample and then select a barrel of Whiskey to have bottled especially for the store. It was recently the case that such an opportunity arose thanks to the good folks who make Eagle Rare Bourbon.
Now let me admit right off the bat that I am a big Eagle Rare supporter (consumer). I’m a fan of the fact that they produce and bottle single barrels of their Bourbon, which guarantees each batch will be a little different and therefore exciting; they bottle their spirit at 90 proof, which insures that their Whiskey is in fighting form yet not too hot; and I like the complexity of flavors that seem to come swirling around the tongue and building off of one another. It’s lively Whiskey to be sure. So it might be needless to say that anybody who already knows this Bourbon will likewise be a fan of the Beltramo’s selection, but for those who haven’t yet tried Eagle Rare, let me be the one to convince you that this particular barrel chosen by our Spirit’s Buyer is the stuff that Bourbon-soaked dreams are made of.
Nose: Caramel, wheat, and a delicate spice aroma.
Taste: Though light in body, it’s still tongue-coating and complex with spice, leather, and vanilla. This barrel of Eagle Rare is drier than the past few bottling we’ve had at Beltramo’s. It still has Bourbon sweetness, but this fades quickly into more woody flavors, leaving a nice warming feel from notes of cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and a hint of clove that flows into a medium-long finish. The nip of the spiciness definitely crosses into Rye territory here. Notes of grain and leather throughout.
With the addition of water, I found that the vanilla and caramel notes were enhanced, but I was pleased to find that the spicy qualities did not subside at all. Great on the rocks too, with the cool from the cubes melting at the heat from that pepper and cinnamon. This also brings out a luscious malty character and the taste of black licorice.
This Eagle Rare Single Barrel lends itself nicely to mixing for cocktails, especially the Manhattan, because of the nuanced spice notes and its dry-meets-sweet nature. Try this one on for size next time you’ve got a hankering for a cocktail that’s elegantly simple in its parts, yet rewards you in bounds with flavors:
- 2oz Eagle Rare Beltramo’s Single Barrel Select Bourbon
- 1/2oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino ($12.99)
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- Cherry or twist of orange optional
The way the Eagle Rare and the Cocchi combine is sublime. The Vermouth and the Bitters do their proper job of elevating the Bourbon and letting it stand tall.
So there you are, whether you like your Whiskey neat, on ice, or with a supporting cast of characters, this batch of Eagle Rare is a gem. Raise a glass and sip heartily, my friends.
Neal F., Beltramo’s Spirits Staff