Sazerac Rye started its history back in 1869 when Thomas H Handy bought a bar called the Sazerac Coffee House. The cocktail known as the sazerac was being made with congnac, Peychaud’s bitters, absinthe, sugar, and lemon garnish. Once Thomas H Handy took control of the bar he started acquiring and marketing different brands of liquor. Over time the Sazerac cocktail switched to Rye instead of Cognac. The brand of rye whiskey used in the cocktail came to be known as Sazerac Rye.
There is also a Sazerac 18 in the BTAC lineup, which I’m sure most of you have head of with all of the attention surrounding Pappy and Buffalo Trace. Most people refer to this Sacerac Rye as “baby Saz” which is distilled and bottled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Instead of a high rye whiskey, which would contain a mashbill that contains almost all rye, Sazerac Rye is a low rye whiskey with a mashbill of about 51% rye, 39% corn, and 10% malt.
Distiller: Buffalo Trace
Age: 6 years
Notes of sweet clove, vanilla, caramel, sweet bright fruit, anise, and some citrus.
Right away the cinnamon and a slight peppery rye make an appearance. The rye spice is not at all intense, quite a bit of vanilla and some caramel start to take over with a heavy fresh cherry flavor and a touch of oak. Due to this low rye mashbill, the sweetness definitely hits more than the spicy rye.
The finish is medium in length, a subtle rye spice that quickly turns into a sweet citrus note followed by cherry and a touch of oak.
Sazerac Rye is a great value with a retail price point ranging from $30-$35. With this being the “baby Saz” of a much harder to get version of the Sazerac Rye 18, I highly recommend picking up a bottle if you see one. The classic rye characteristics that a rye fan loves are all there in this Sazerac Rye, but it is also suitable for someone fairly new to rye whiskey since there is also quite a bit of bourbon characteristics.