With school back in session (both for kids and grad students alike), I wanted to select a Bourbon of the Month that will be a no-brainer. An affordable bottle that you can pick up for partying–er–rewarding yourself after a tough study session. Or if you’re a working schmo, drown your pain–er–celebrate the end of a long week!
After a swing-and-a-miss with my first selection for August’s B&B #BotM, I finally settled on a tasty bottle that is a favorite in the bourbon drinking community and will easily earn a permanent place on my shelf:
Thoughts: For those like me who care at least a little bit about the price when trying something new, Eagle Rare is very reasonably priced for such a high quality and long-aged bourbon (10 years!). It sits right at 90 proof and is a smooth, sweet sip. Plus, you know, Murica.
Some History: Many reviews out there (including at least one of the three linked above) drill through the recent history of Eagle Rare, mentioning its origin with Seagram, Sazerac, and Buffalo Trace (where it is currently distilled). Very few mention this bourbon’s creator, master distiller Charlie Beam.
As you can likely guess, Chuck was a member of the famous Beam family, an astonishing family that is responsible for so much of America’s history in bourbon and general spirits distilling. Charles L. Beam was the great-great grand nephew of the venerable Jim Beam, descended from David, Jim’s brother. Although he didn’t work at the Jim Beam Distillery, Charlie created Eagle Rare in 1975 while serving as master distiller at the Four Roses Distillery which, at the time, was under Seagram ownership. Eagle Rare was originally a 101 proof straight bourbon whiskey aged 10 years. It’s a little more toned-down these days, but still awesome.
Of equal interest to me, however, is that Charlie Beam was a veteran. According to his obituary, Beam was a Staff Sergeant in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and he “earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, flying 30 missions over Europe.” Extra points in my totally unquantified review.
Parting Words: Charlie Beam retired from the Four Roses Distillery in 1982, before Four Roses could sell out and become yet another Japanese-owned bourbon. Sazerac (based out of New Orleans) bought the Eagle Rare brand from Seagram in 1989 and began producing it at what would later become the Buffalo Trace Distillery, where it’s crafted today.
If you’re keeping track of distilleries, including Eagle Rare and my May 2016 #BotM selection, Colonel E.H. Taylor, Buffalo Trace is now in the lead here at Bourbon & Battles. MTF.
If you’re looking for a new “house bourbon,” consider Eagle Rare. Murica.
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