Up for review today is the entry-level rye whiskey in the Sazerac line from Buffalo Trace Distillery (they also make an 18 year old version which I haven't tried, but that has gotten some rave reviews around other parts). It doesn't have an age statement on the bottle, but I've seen it quoted elsewhere as being aged for six years, which sounds about right. This is the "official" whiskey for making a Sazerac, a classic New Orleans cocktail - you can read more about it here, from Jay at Oh Gosh.
Sazerac (the whiskey, not the cocktail) comes in a very nice bottle with a tall neck and a corked wooden cap. It pours out a fairly light yellow-amber, with scattered legs upon swirling. The aroma is nice - it has a sharp spiciness from the rye, which is balanced with a gentle sweetness. The flavor also has these elements, but several other aspects join the mix - oak from the barrels, some spices (clove?), and, of course, lots of rye flavor. It's fairly complex, despite its young age, and while it goes down with a fairly aggressive burn, it's far from unpleasant. The finish is oak and rye, marred somewhat by a slight bitterness.
Sazerac is an excellent rye whiskey - it's quite pleasant to drink straight, and yes, it does make for a first-rate Sazerac cocktail. And, given its very reasonable price, it's an excellent value. If you're looking to add a versatile, high-quality rye whiskey to your bar (which you should! It's a highly distinctive and underappreciated cocktail ingredient.), this one is highly recommended.
Overall Quality: 17/20