We started a new series on our YouTube Channel on History and our first subject that we covered was the history of Eagle Rare.

On our YouTube Channel–ChasingNeat–we brought in two special guests to help us research and talk about Eagle Rare; Dave & Nina whom you might remember from many of our previous blog posts as well as videos.

With Dave & Nina’s help Dawn and I were able to provide you with the following information on Eagle Rare:

It all started in the 70’s at Four Roses Distillery with Charles Beam, the great Grandnephew of James Beam, wanting to reestablish bourbon as a premium spirit. In the previous decade Bourbon was going through a bad time in its history due to increasing popularity of clear spirits especially Vodka and Gin. It seemed that the current drinkers wanted to get away from the alcohol that their parents drank as they were growing up. In response to declining demand, the bourbon industry responded by lowering prices, which further damaged the spirit’s reputation as a “cheap” alcohol.

In 1975 Charles Beam, working as Master Distiller at Four Roses, owned by Seagram Company, created a product and brand to compete with Wild Turkey 101 which was still a widely beloved brand at that time. At that time Beam and Four Roses released their competing brand at the same proof point of 101, however they released it as a 10 year old Bourbon.

The new Bourbon turned out to be popular and sold very well. In1989 the Eagle Rare brand along with another of Charles Beam’s creations–Benchmark–was sold to the Sazerac Company. However Sazerac did not yet have a distillery of its own so it looked to Heaven Hill to produce both brands for it until such time as thier distillery got built. The Sazerac Company, instead of waiting and building a distillery decided to purchase one instead. In 1992 Sazerac purchased the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

While the original Eagle Rare was released in 1975 at 101 proof, in 2005 it was then released at a lower 90 proof and then also started to be marketed as a Single Barrel product. In 2012 the the bottle itself was redesigned, moving the 10-year age statement to the back of the bottle previously being proudly displayed on the front and later on the neck. Additionally, distillers at Buffalo Trace were forced to remove the phrase “single barrel” from each bottle thanks to a newly installed automated bottling line that combined multiple barrels together. If they had kept it on the label they would have been in violation of the U.S. Tobacco and Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which upholds a strict list of requirements for any spirit advertised as “single barrel.”

Wile the exact mash bill of Eagle Rare is not made public it is estimated as having about 10% rye, however it is know that is is made with the Buffalo Trace number one mash bill, the same mash bill that is used to make some of their most sought after bourbons: Benchmark, and E.H. Tayler, Old Charter, George T. Stagg, Stagg Jr (now just Stagg), and its namesake Buffalo Trace along. In addition to the #1 Mash bill Eagle Rare ages in new white oak barrels with a number four char, that is about a minute that the barrel is subjected to flame.

Currently there are four expressions of Eagle Rare, although the other three you will probably never get to see yet along be able to purchase.

–Eagle Rare 10 Year Single Barrel and batched

–Double Eagle Very Rare

–Eagle Rare 17 Year-Old

–Eagle Rare 25 Year Old

Here are what the original Eagle Rare bottle looked like:

Some old advertisements:

Below is the link to our video where the four of us talk about one of our favorite bourbons:

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