I first tasted Eagle Rare bourbon while living in Chicago. So my experience with and perception of Eagle Rare bourbon is part merit-based, part nostalgia. To fully understand, you’ll need some background.
The Move to Chicago (Pre-Eagle Rare Bourbon Period)
The cover story was I moved to Chicago from Florida to take a job and climb the corporate ladder. But really I moved because I wanted the big city experience. The crazy tall buildings, the history, the never-ending nightlife, restaurants, and diversity that comes with a city of 3 million.
I knew, even before I arrived, I wanted the full experience. So I chose a loft right in the Loop, bought an unlimited CTA pass to ride the “L”, and made a rule to never go to the same bar or restaurant twice during that first year.
Exploring turned into a sport. I documented, researched, and kept notes on every new restaurant or bar I found. I kept track of what they were good at and tried to experience each spot as authentically as possible. This played a pivotal role that first year, as I kept track of which places I’d want to experience again in that second year.
Eagle Rare Review
Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar in Bridgeport made the cut as one of the places I would go back to after that first year. It’s really three spots in one. A liquor store, a dive, and a trendy sit down spot on the other side. I couldn’t tell you much about the other side because I never made it past the dive in the back.
This is where I tasted Buffalo Trace’s Eagle Rare Bourbon for the first time. Knob Creek or just regular old Buffalo Trace served neat had been my go-to up until this point. But that night, the bartender must have been one mouthy customer away from walking out the door. Because out of nowhere, she suggested we both have ourselves a pour of Eagle Rare. She later confessed she needed a drink herself and cut me in because she appreciated that I didn’t ruin perfectly good bourbon by mixing it.
From that moment on, Eagle Rare became my first choice of bourbon. It’s smooth but robust with flashes of caramel, spice, and oak. To me, it’s an excellent bourbon for novice and experienced bourbon drinkers alike. Several cuts above its sibling Buffalo Trace, less heat and a lower price tag than Blanton’s, but with more traditional oak, vanilla and caramel characteristics than the new wave of bourbon.
If you’re even half-way on the fence, give it a shot at around $30 a bottle.