Updated: History of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

History of the BTAC

Every fall for the past 15 years Buffalo Trace Distillery has pumped out some of the best bourbons and rye whiskies with their Antique Collection (BTAC). Collectively, the Antique Collection has won over major 150 awards from almost every whiskey competition in the world. These awards range from “Whisky of the Year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible to Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (but you already know how I feel about whiskey competitions). Aside from that, George T. Stagg holds one of the highest honors bestowed upon a bourbon which is Bourbonr’s (my) favorite bourbon.

Currently, the BTAC is made up of 3 bourbons and 2 rye whiskies (George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Sazerac 18 and Thomas H. Handy) however that was not always the lineup for the BTAC. Let’s take a look at the origins of the Antique Collection and how it has evolved over the years.

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection History


BTAC Stats by Year

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There’s a lot to digest in these numbers but here are a few things that stick out to me. 1). WHAT WAS GOING ON IN 2010?! In 2010 almost every releases bottle count was significantly higher and in some cases almost double. I’ve not heard any explanation for this but would be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts. 2). Eagle Rare 17 usually isn’t 17 years old. 3). There’s no use in chasing WLW or Saz 18. They’re by far the rarest bottles in the BTAC line up.

What else did you notice?

Buffalo Trace Antique Collection History - Stats

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    The 2009 William Larue Weller (134.8) is my favorite bourbon of all time. I know a bar that still has 1/2 a bottle, but of course I’m not telling….

    Do we think ER 17 has been tanked the last few years as well? Similar age consistency and slight increases in evaporation loss to Saz18.

    If there is a 11:4 ratio of Stagg to WLW / ER17 / Saz18 then why do we always see closer to a 10:1 ratio in the liquor stores? I know stores (LB) hold back bottles but the only way it makes sense is if they are holding back alot less of the Stagg…

    Two answers jump out at me, the first is that your experience is not a representative sample of distribution. The other answer is that distribution between on- and off-premise is not identical. More of the Stagg goes to stores, and bars and restaurants get more of the other bottles. Stores presumably want Stagg the most, because it’s the biggest name and carries the biggest premium.

    I’ve been sipping on a bottle of GTS ’08 as slowly as i can make it last. To me, the complexity and buttery way it coats your mouth is no doubt a much more fulfilling sip over PVW 15-18. While the latter are smoother and perhaps “easier” to drink, they had much more of a wheated taste and were less complex than GTS. The years following 08, I found GTS packed more heat.. I have another bottle of ’10 & ’13 GTS which I have yet to open, so no comment on their more recent releases.

    PS – I ran into a fellow bourbonr while i was visiting Washington (st), in the Bourbon aisle of TotalWine. If youre reading this. “Hey guy!”

    Excellent summary, and interesting reading! I remember when I lived in Pennsyvlvania (2008-2013), I’d see quite a few BTAC bottlings (Especially GTS and WLW) sitting on the shelves of my local state-run liquor store. In hindsight, I really wish I’d known more about bourbon and rye then (and wasn’t a poor student). No matter how many times I saw them, I always passed them over.

    The images on this post don’t work any more 🙁

    At least the expand links don’t. I can right click and view images to get them to work, but yeah.

    all the Pappys on hand outside Albany ny
    10, 12, Family Rye, 15, 20, 23 ….. start at $325, 449, 599, 799, 1399, 1799

    not sure how long they have been there……

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