Sunday, March 22, 2009

Malt Mission 2009 #343

Sazerac Rye Tasting Notes

Sazerac Rye
Straight Rye Whiskey
45% abv


Sazerac Rye whiskey comes from Buffalo Trace Distillery, the production site and innovation teams responsible for what can most simply be called great American whiskeys and bourbons. More HERE.

In 1803 A.A. Peychaud created a cocktail based on cognac/brandy that was popularized in the 1850s and christened a Saz
erac in the 1870s, once whiskey replaced cognac as the primary spirit ingredient.

As America's first cocktail it had to fight typically American oppressions, unfair taxa
tion of imported spirits driving brandy out of the recipe of "America's first cocktail", The Noble Experiment, and the outlawing of one of the drink's ingredients (absinthe), driving the drink deeper into the melting pot, adapting to its new surroundings of 'freedom' under the heavy hand of religion and government. Ah, America; you contradiction, you.

Sazerac cocktail

1.5 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey

1 tsp. Absinthe or Pernod
1 tsp. sugar
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters


Coat a chilled glass with the Absinthe/Pernod by swirling it around being sure to touch the sides and bottom of the glass. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, rye whiskey, sugar and bitters. Shake, then strain into the absinthe/pernod lined glass.

John Campbell of Laphroaig ordered me a Laphroizerac in Philadelphia, a drink where the absinthe/pernod is replaced by Laphroaig. Delish. And weird.


Herbal with a honey sweetness. Dentist office minty-ness, some coconut milk and vanilla, and a green vegetal sharpness that keeps it fresh.

Orange rind, spice, honey, sweet vermouth and unsalted Triscuits. Dry oakiness to finish.


Loved the nose, unusual (to me), sweet and odd. The palate was dry, and lacking... something. It was pointed, edgy. Which can be cool, I suppose. This whisky is allegdly 6 years old, three times the legal minimum, but I conclude that this is a whiskey better suited to mixing in fine cocktails than sipping straight. The spiciness and edge can also be attributed to the nature or rye whisky, I suppose.

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Mark Connelly said...

This is one of the nicest things I have tasted from the USA and I would heartily recommend it to everyone.

sku said...

Ah, now you're getting to the good stuff.

Spice is, indeed, what rye is all about. You might have picked it up in your Buffalo Trace Bourbon as well, which has a heavy dose of rye spice. It's not for everyone, just as peated Scotch isn't for everyone, but those of us who love it can't get enough.