When it comes to bourbon (and American whiskey in general) there are few names more well-respected than Buffalo Trace. Obviously, Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, and even Wild Turkey are more well-known. But none of them have the accolades and enthusiastic fanbase of Buffalo Trace. Makers of iconic whiskeys like Eagle Rare, Weller, Stagg, Blanton’s, E.H. Taylor, and even Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace is unrivaled in the American whiskey world. But those aren’t even the only whiskeys produced under the Buffalo Trace whiskey umbrella.
The fact that this distillery seems to make nothing but award-winning whiskeys is why we were so excited when we heard that the brand is releasing a line of whiskeys it’s calling “The Prohibition Collection” this month. This new, annual limited-edition collection was created to pay tribute to the various whiskeys that were produced by the then-called George T. Stagg Distillery during Prohibition.
Yes, you read that right. The brand that’s now known as Buffalo Trace made and sold whiskey between 1920 and 1933 when Prohibition (with the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution) made the production, sale, and transportation illegal in the United States. This is because many doctors believed that whiskey could cure various ailments (hence doctors prescribing hot toddies in Scotland, England, and beyond as well). The U.S. government granted licenses to a few distilleries to make whiskey for medical purposes. This included George T. Stagg.
The Prohibition-era whiskeys being released in “The Prohibition Collection” are the formerly defunct Old Stagg, Golden Wedding, Three Feathers, Walnut Hill, and George T. Stagg Spiritus Frumenti.
- Old Stagg is a barrel-proof, uncut, unfiltered bourbon.
- Golden Wedding is a 107-proof whiskey.
- Three Feathers is a 100-proof botted-in-bind whiskey.
- Walnut Hill is a 90-proof high-rye bourbon.
- George T. Stagg Distillery Spiritus Frumenti is a 110-proof wheated bourbon made to be an homage to the medicinal whiskeys produced at the distillery.
“We stand behind our motto, ‘Honor Tradition, Embrace Change,’” said Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Master Distiller, in a press release. “Each of these brands disappeared slowly in the years after Prohibition, but they were integral to our survival. Without them, today there would be no Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, or Weller bourbons. The Prohibition Collection is a tribute to these great whiskeys from our past.”
The best part? Instead of buying one bottle and then not knowing whether or not it would be your favorite in the collection, you can buy a set featuring all five bottles. The custom-made wooden case features all five expressions in 375ml bottles (half the size of the average bottle). This is because, during Prohibition, bottles came in this size. Not only that, the case and bottles are adorned with Prohibition-era artwork and labels. The packaging stays true to its Prohibition medicinal history by featuring back cartons that can be cut out so you can give them to your doctor to apply for a whiskey prescription (although they might scratch their head if you use them).
Since this is a limited-edition, highly sought-after collection, it’s not cheap. Available at selected retailers, bars, and restaurants in the U.S. right now, the full collection retails for $999.99. That’s a high price to pay for some medicine. But you do you.
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