Posted on June 1, 2010 | By The Bon-Vivant | Comments Off on Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon
For the tasting of Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon, the Locusts gathered on two consecutive Sundays. The first tasting was done under less than ideal conditions, on the front lawn, following the consumption of a pitcher of homemade margaritas. All present except for one neighbor, a level-headed man of superior character, agreed that this was an excellent bourbon.
After waking up the next morning and evaluating our tasting notes, a document which included more exclamation marks than one would have thought possible, it was decided that a second tasting of this bourbon was warranted. The following Sunday, two of the Locusts, the Enabler and the Bon-Vivant gathered for a second bite at the apple.
We poured ourselves a pair of snifters and snifted….
The Bon-Vivant: It’s what? Turpentiney?
The Enabler: Didn’t Mike the Neighbor say it was like airplane glue? That is a ketone scent.
The Bon-Vivant: It’s a little like that, but not exactly.
The Enabler: Maybe more rubbing alcohol.
The Bon-Vivant: I’m not necessarily looking forward to actually sipping something that has this strong an industrial scent.
The Enabler: I remember it being pretty tasty the other night.
The Bon-Vivant: Yes much better after a pitcher of margaritas.
The Enabler: (takes a sip) The mouth-feel is oily. And there’s an astringent alcohol quality, it’s sort of heavy. It’s only 90 proof? It seems much stronger.
The Bon-Vivant: (sips) much better on the tongue than in the nose, I’d say. There a fruit quality there. (sips again) Is it a berry flavor? It’s right there on the edge of being identifiable. (sips) It’s definitely a berry flavor, blackberry, strawberry, boysen berry, marion berry. Something there.
The Enabler: Time for some water. (pours a thimbleful of water to the glass, sips) Now, see this is a bourbon that really benefits from some branch water. It really takes the edge off of the alcohol.
The Bon-Vivant: That does take the edge off, and allows you to taste the underlying flavors.
The Enabler: So, obviously, this is one of those bourbons that you don’t want to drink neat. You want this with water or ice.
The Bon-Vivant: Which is sort of disappointing, given this a $30 bottle.
The Enabler: The other night, I thought this was great stuff. But, now I see it was the margaritas talking. I really like it a lot less now.
The Bon-Vivant: Let that be a lesson to us about maintaining our purity during tasting. This turns out to be fairly mediocre bourbon.
The Enabler: Or, a great bourbon after a pitcher of margaritas.
Conclusion: This is a very good $20 bourbon, unfortunately, it costs $30 a bottle (in California). As this is a single barrel bourbon, It might just be that we’ve gotten an off barrel, and we’d be willing to give another bottle a try. Although, the fool me once rule would apply…
More concretely, Eagle Rare has a lovely amber color, a strong and astringent nose with a heavy bite of alcohol, so you would definitely want to drink it with water, or on the rocks. It’s not an unpleasant bourbon, and indeed, it is perfectly drinkable, with a slight sweetness and some decent fruit, in the berry family. If this were priced differently we’d be satisfied that we’d discovered a reasonable substitute for Wild Turkey 101, or a Maker’s Mark.