...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Old Charter 8 year old

When I picked up a 200mL bottle of the discontinued Old Charter 8 year old bourbon while on my drive across the country last summer, I was excited about what I thought was a high-quality sorta-dusty bourbon.

My guess as to it being from the 1990s was quashed quickly once I realized the label stated the whiskey was distilled in "Frankfort, KY". Actual dusty Old Charters list Louisville instead. Louisville was the location of the old Bernheim distillery. Frankfort is the location of the Buffalo Trace distillery. BT's owner, Sazerac, bought Old Charter in 1999 so, if I understand math correctly, the earliest my bottle would have been filled was 2007. Taking a look at this bottling code, I wonder if it was bottled in 2012 instead. Wiser bourbon people, please chime in if you think it's from a different date.

My "high-quality" expectation was even more roughly rebuffed. The bourbon was sour, bitterly oaked and formless in its 40%abv. In fact, I dumped almost half the bottle down the sink. Two ounces were stashed away for this review though. Let's see if I like it more now than I did a year ago...

Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Ownership: The Sazerac Company
Brand: Eagle Rare
Region: Frankfort, Kentucky
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: minimum 8 years
Mashbill: Buffalo Trace low-rye
Alcohol by Volume: 40%

The nose starts off with paint fumes, banana candy, generic barrel char and turpentine. After 20 minutes in the glass, it starts releasing friendlier fumes: lavender, sage, dried berries and orange oil. The palate begins all bitter oak. Then some vanilla and sugar. Generic barrel char, dried cherries and something metallic (lead?). Like the nose, it gets more approachable with time. The finish has some length to it, though it's mostly lead/metal, oaky bitterness and generic barrel char. A little bit of sweetness in there. Vanilla and overripe bananas.

Light and inoffensive. The bourbon adds nothing to it,

This reads as bottom shelf stuff when it first hits the glass, but give it some time and it's better than terrible. Almost satisfactory. Sorry, I'm running out of positive things to say about it, other than I'm glad I paid all of $5.99 for the 200mL bottle. While it'll do in case of an emergency or to apply to a quick cocktail, I have little doubt that earlier iterations were better than this bottling of the old 8yo.

Availability - Can still be found here and there
Pricing - I paid $5.99 for my 200mL
Rating - 73 (but it needs air; scores ten points lower before aired out)