Thomas H. Handy Sazerac 2014 Release

BTAC 2014 Part I of III

Reviewed by
Connosr member:



16th Feb 2015

Reviewer rating:


About this score:

  • Nose: 22
  • Taste: 23
  • Finish: 21
  • Balance: 21

Tasting Notes by talexander

After reviewing two unaged grain spirits (shudder), I had to step up my game a little. Maybe I stepped it up a bit too much...

A couple of months ago, our provincial liquor monopoly / retailer / dictator / gouger brought in some of the 2014 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottlings. Knowing of course that demand would far outstrip supply, they developed a lottery system whereby you win the chance to purchase the bottles (which I've never seen them do before). Luckily, I won one bottle, and two friends won two other bottles, which means....sample swap!!

The 2014 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye was distilled in the spring of 2008, matured in 47 barrels for six years and three months, then bottled in the fall of 2014.

The colour is a deep reddish copper. On the nose we have those beautiful notes of rye spice, pepper, herbs, wet slate and cinnamon / cloves. Hints of vanilla and coconut. Becomes richer and fruitier with water. Very nice but not as robust as in previous bottlings.

Very mouth-drying on the palate, with more vanilla, Christmas spices (more nutmeg on the palate than on the nose) and stone fruits. Very big and robust but a little overpowering. Water smooths things out but retains the punch - but it's still a bit too much punch.

The finish is hot and dry, with herbaceous notes and overwhelming spice. This is a powerful rye but I think it needs a bit more subtlety and complexity, which I found was there in prior years. However, you still can't go wrong with the Handy. Delicious as always.


Whisky details


Thomas H. Handy


Sazerac 2014 Release




Old Sauternes



Victor wrote:

An 87 pt Thomas Handy Rye? YIKES! John Hansell of Whisky Advocate said that the 2014 Thomas H Handy was below its usual standards. Apparently you find it so also. Too bad. Hopefully future years will be more back to the prior norm. Thanks for your review.

16 February 2015 23:54

talexander wrote:

I apologize for not crediting @Nozinan for this sample.

17 February 2015 00:07

talexander wrote:

@Victor, I agree with Hansell but nevertheless, still very much worth drinking.

17 February 2015 00:08

Nozinan wrote:

This was my first non-Alberta Premium distilled rye (well, the details of that night are fuzzy (- there may have been another non-BTAC rye first). I have to say I was quite surprised, and very impressed, but I have no other example against which to gauge this.

I still haven't recovered completely from that evening, but when I do, I may review it myself...

17 February 2015 01:17

MaltActivist wrote:

Thanks @talexander for the review. Just wanted to stop by and wish you a belated Review Milestone on your 300th review! Love reading your opinions. Cheers.

03 March 2015 03:04

talexander wrote:

Thank you @MaltActivist! Jesus, I had no idea I've written over 300!

03 March 2015 11:59

paddockjudge wrote:

An entertaining review and perhaps the best 87 I've had in a while. I'm pleased to see you have abandoned the hootch for some barrel-aged high test - looking forward to the rest of your BTAC presentation.

03 March 2015 22:24

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