Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey

Review: Sazerac Rye Whiskey (6 year old)

In the last week I did a review and accompanying video of the 2011 18 year old Sazerac Rye Whiskey. I thought a quick look at its little brother, a 6 year old, might be an interesting comparison.

Sazerac Rye Whiskey (6 year), 45% abv (90 Proof), $30.00

Color: Light Amber/Deep Gold

Nose:  Fruity and fresh with youthful exuberance. Cinnamon candy, sweet mint, vanilla bean, honeysuckle, and clove wrapped around a honeyed apple heart.

Palate: Very much in line with the fragrance on the nose. Crisp orchard fruit, vanilla infused honey, sweet mint and clove. The oak gets the hell out of the way. Wait, is that a bit of fleeting corn leading us to the finish?

Finish: Caramel and honey taming the emerging, warm baking spices. Never too hot though – just dries up cleanly. A bit of toasted wood bitterness as well.

Overall: This is a great example of a well made, classic rye flavor profile. For those that consider rye too hot or strong – this might be a great intro for you. It’s nicely balanced with fruit, sweetness and spice, but not “hot” in the least. It’s also a good price point in my opinion. Admittedly it’s not particularly complex, and tasted even a bit younger than 6 years, but it’s a very good sipping rye.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.6 (Very Good/Excellent)


  1. In a way I had wished you made this review this past Friday. I was really torn between getting Rittenhouse Rye or Sazerac. They are rated rather evenly across the board. I opted for the Rittenhouse rye and was very glad that I did. Amazing stuff, for the price. Now that I see you’ve rated Sazerac an8.6 and Rittenhouse a 9.3; I do feel vindicated. With that said I have the Thomas H. Handy from BTAC. Isn’t that just a cask-strength version of regular Sazerac?

  2. Saz 6 never lived up to the hype for me. I do love the bottle design, though. A standout on the shelf. And, I suppose for a reasonably low cost sippin’ rye it’s a solid dram. But, I agree on the lack of complexity and young tasting comment. It just falls a bit flat. I’d pay double or triple for the BTAC Saz any day of the week.

  3. Does anyone other than I think that the bottle design looks similar to Dickel’s?

  4. I agree with Terry on the bottle itself, and the whiskey’s alright, but as a rye drinker going back more than 30 years, I’ll take Wild Turkey, Bulleit, or Rittenhouse over this one, and all for less money.

    The Handy, though, (especially the last two years) stands out as the truest expression in these modern times, IMHO.

  5. Count me as one of the seemingly few people that enjoy Sazerac more than Rittenhouse 100. In fact, I don’t really care for the Rittenhouse that much. Sipping neat I’ll take the Sazerac hands down, but in my opinion where the Sazerac really shines is in an Old Fashioned, and really that’s what I buy it for when I can find it.

  6. I agree with Allen. I’m one of the few that dislikes Rittenhouse 100. Haven’t had the 6 year Saz yet but I’ll get to it. I certainly love Bulleit, Saz 18, Handy, and more.

  7. Jason, you noted that it tasted younger than 6 years. Do you think, perhaps, it is? I ask because newer expressions of this have no age statement. Although it is commonly referred to as 6 year, I am hesitant unless I see it on the bottle.

  8. LostBottle – good question. Just not sure. It’s really hard to say without an age statement for sure.

  9. Jason,
    I feel that baby Saz is the most overrated product from BT. In fact I was thinking of posting about it on my blog and then saw your review. I find that despite it being a little lighter in character it still has a sort of harshness. Last night I tried it in a Manhattan and felt that it just didn’t hold it’s weight. It’s not terrible or anything, but for me, Rittenhouse blows it away, as do a number of other ryes in that price range.

  10. Greg, thanks for the comment. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as rough, just a bit unrefined (i.e. younger than it is reportedly to my taste buds), but I get what you mean. Still I think a very good rye with a lot of character.

  11. Ryan Wainwright

    February 5, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I found this to be an insightful and fair review .I personally find this to be a good young and vibrant rye;unlike some of the LDI’s which I find to be very vegetal and bitter,this is bright and almost floral while keeping the traditional rye spice.Nice post;keep it up.

  12. Thanks Ryan. Appreciate the comment.

  13. Falling somewhere in between the two camps here. It’s a solid whiskey, a good intro to rye but a bit simple (to me). It probably commands the price and attention that it does in the broad market mostly because of the Sazerac name. Count me as sombody who also prefers Rittenhouse 100, which runs less than $20 here while the Sazerac “6” hovers around $30. Easy choice for me, YMMV.

  14. Baby Saz is made of BT rye mashbill: 51% rye, 39% corn,10% malted barley. Think it will age nicely to replace VWFRR and Saz 18?

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