Sazerac 18yr Rye
As some of you may know, I’m fairly new to Seattle and the United States, being recently thrust here from Canadia (as I’ve quickly learned is the “cute” way of saying Canada when you’re south of the 49).
One of the reasons (there were many) for my move south of the border was the opportunity to work with spirits that I would never dream of having access to in Vancouver. While Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in, yet alone lived in, it does have a few drawbacks, one of them being the selection of alcohol chosen by the BCLDB. Can you imagine a world that only has eight Bourbons, four ryes and thirteen tequilas? Even though Washington booze is State controlled, the selection is ten-fold of what is available in British Columbia. Then there is the internet, where almost anything else that you could possibly want is available, especially when it doesn’t have to cross international borders.
The reason why I bring this up, is because when I first moved here, Paul Clarke, of Cocktail Chronicles fame popped by Vessel and handed me a wrapped package while I whipped him up a cocktail. I had not actually met Paul before this exchange, and was quite curious to discover what was in the package. I was quite busy that night, and his party was upstairs, so I was not able to open up the parcel until some time later.
A lull appeared in service, so I went to the back and ripped open the gift. It was tall. Brown. Sazerac 18 year!! Wow! Welcome to America! Not only had someone who I never had actually met in person handed me a bottle of booze, but it was a bottle of booze that I had only heard of before, with never a hope in my tiny little Canadian head of tasting, let alone owning.
Well first things first, pictures were taken, before the seal was cracked. Then came the tastings, with myself and the staff. While I was tempted to horde such an item, a beautiful thing such as this rye should be shared, however painful it may be.
As the bottle is barely obscured by labeling, one can see that the liquid inside is a beautiful amber hue. Pouring it in the glass I immediately got a whiff of the fruity, spiciness that was to come. This was going to be a monster!
Tasting this baby, I began to wonder, what if….? It was quite dry and earthy with notes of leather and molasses, huge wood and a sour spiciness that I’ve come to expect from most ryes. But what if…?
Some of my favorite ryes (Willett, Thomas Handy Sazerac, and Rittenhouse 21 yr) are all bottled at a minimum of 100 proof. So I had to wonder, what if the Sazerac 18yr, instead of being bottle at 90 proof, came in at around 130 proof? Would it extend the somewhat medium finish? Would it subdue the almost overpowering wood? Or is it just another example of my need to always want more?
Either way, it is an exquisite bottle, one that I would always have on my shelf if it were only able to be acquired with any ease. If you do see it on a shelf of your local liquor store, consider yourself very lucky and snatch it up right away. When you get home, have a little taste, and if you don’t like it, I’ll allow you to send the rest of the bottle to me. That’s right, I’ll do my civic duty and take it off of your hands. Heck, to make it easier for you, I’ll even pay the shipping. That’s the kind of guy that I am.
Picture taken by: