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Thomas H Handy Sazerac bottled 2010

Average score from 6 reviews and 6 ratings 95

Thomas H Handy Sazerac bottled 2010

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Thomas H Handy Sazerac bottled 2010

Sazerac Straight Rye Whisky 126.9 proof (2010 release) Bought in Myrtle Beach in the fall of 2012 . . . I don’t know why it was still on the shelf. And it was at the 2010 price of $59.90

Nose: Nose burning! This is wonderful stuff. The nose is so deep. It is an ocean of unctuousness. Thick rye with old burnt barrels. Where the Bulleit smells like something is burning this smells like the smoke, ash, and charcoal have seeped into every part of the rye ocean. Super intense nose fire . . . reduces to apples, sweet notes of fruit, sour lemon peel, wood, oak, maple syrup, pancakes, cinnamon, Christmas decorations. There is also a deep brown sugar sweetness. Not overly sweet like the baby Sazerac. This is from a sweetness that once was sweet ages ago . . . and now it is . . . mature. And this rye ocean is as deep as you want to go. This is what I want from America Whisky!!! Truly amazing. When I smell this I am on Arrakis with Sandworms . . . the spice must flow . . .

Taste: Not as big as you would think. Very dark sweetness (nothing bitter and very little sour). It is an undulating mass of rye, spice, and thick brown sugar that has been made into an aged simple syrup and then aged in oak for 12 years . . . now it turns salty and sharp. This is massive in the mouth.

Finish: Huge wave of rye, sea salt, spices . . . it catches your breath . . . I love it. Just a gigantic wave of rye crashes over you and destroys your senses. You are left with a very slow and low rye burn . . . it is so warm and comforting . . . Just immense and powerful. So many spices . . . I feel like I am in India . . . no back to Arrakis!

Complexity, Balance: Huge complexity. This is fantastic. I wish I would have bought the second bottle sitting on the shelf. I am a fool. The balance of the sweet and the darkness is amazing. I know this is around 6 years of age . . . but there is no way I believe it. This is the complexity I expect from 18 year or more! This is the George T. Stagg of Rye!

Aesthetic experience: This is where I get mad. I LOVE the hand written ABV and proof. I wish the bottle were different (why not use the Sazerac style bottle?). I wish they put the age on it. I wish they put the mash bill on it. I wish . . . I could buy it more often.

Conclusion: one of the great Ryes out there. It seems to be the least purchased of the Antique Collection. Another way of saying it: if you see one bottle of the Antique Collection on a shelf somewhere I bet it is a bottle of Handy. Why? This is fantastic stuff! Maybe it is the age (it is the youngest of the BTAC). Maybe it is the Rye (it is the opposite of a wheated bourbon). All I know is next time I’m buying two bottles!

Americans still do not know and understand Rye Whiskey. Probably not one US whiskey drinker in 200 has ever consumed a drop of rye whiskey which was not in a cocktail. That is why the Thomas H Handy still sometimes sits on a shelf for months. Personally I think that those days are numbered now, because of the increasing numbers of whiskey buffs. If you see it, best to buy it.

Personally, I slightly prefer this 2010 release Thomas Handy, which you have reviewed, to the 2011 release, which Jim Murray named 2013 World Whisky of the Year. Why? This one is brighter. It just sparkles. I place a very high premium on "Brightness", and find brightness to be very rare in any genre of whisk(e)y. The 2011 release is also excellent, and I would describe it as slightly more complex than the 2010. But it is not bright like this 2010 is.


During my recent trip to Helvetica, our local whisky bar, my wife, my brother and sister in law and myself all got a chance to try the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye.

It was nothing short of brilliant.

However this is not that whisky.

Now that's not to say that this isn't a great whisky, I just want to clarify that there will be two reviews on the Thomas H. Handy in the coming days.

The Thomas H. Handy that I tried at the local whisky bar impressed me so much that my brother in law and I both decided that we each needed a bottle of this bad boy for ourselves.

As soon as I could I went straight to my favorite whisky store in Perth, the International Beer Shop, which carries the entire Sazerac Antiquities Collection from Buffalo Trace, and picked up my first bottle from said collection for myself.

It only ran me $250, but I felt that it was worth it.

Today my brother in law and I cracked this bad boy open and gave it a spin around the block!

The nose is cracking! Nothing short of that.

Complex and delicious!

Rye, big, beautiful, lovely rye!

Then hints of vanilla, oak, at times a hint of marshmallow, caramel, spices mainly nutmeg and cinnamon, and after about an hour of nosing a lovely tea aroma, I swear it's Earl Grey, but I can't be 100%, but it's definitely tea.

Absolutely lovely and mind boggling complex at times.

I swear at times it's the nose alone that makes me fall in love with the big boys out of Buffalo Trace.

Thick, juicy flavors pond the palate as I take a drink.

Wood, rye, lots of powerful spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, extremely spicy at times with what feels like peppers and with just the faintest hint of a hint of chocolate.

The finish is long and fairly intense with lots of rye flavors and the faintest hint of chocolate at the very end.

This as I said isn't the bottle that convinced me to spend $250 to buy a bottle of the Thomas H. Handy, but I'm still very glad that I bought this.

This whisky is in the same series as the George T. Stagg and the moment the liquid touches your lips, you know it's the same distillery that produces all these bad boys.

I've had the George T. Stagg before, I've had the Thomas H. Handy (obviously) and I've had the William L. Weller (Buffalo Traces Wheated bourbon) and while it can be extremely difficult to find in Australia and the price point is ALWAYS high over here (expect to spend $250 to $300 and up to $400 a bottle, they're worth that $250-$300 price.

I'd previously purchased the George T. Stagg for my brother in law's birthday, because he had really wanted to try it, but wasn't prepared to spend $300 on a bottle of whisky.

He now is.

And after trying the Thomas H. Handy, he's now prepared to spend that $300 again on another whisky.

If you see and can afford it, Buy it!

Thanks Cardinal! Even cooler is the version I tried at the whisky bar was EVEN better! Such as awesome intense whisky and I love the fact that between the Stagg and the Handy my brother in law now doesn't blink when I tell him a whisky is worth $200+, he just says "Put me down for one!"

I'm REALLY debating the Weller next, but I'm already throwing another $250 down on the upcoming Stagg! Buffalo Trace is going to cause me to go broke. The beer I just bought that was aged in their barrels was one of the most intense, flavorful, complex beers I ever had and was $35 for a 375ml!

I have a sneaky feeling that the one that I had at the whisky bar was the 2011 release. 64.5% ABV.

The Stagg is nothing short of awesome. Simple as that :D

The beer was Mikkeller's Black Buffalo. 19.3% Imperial Stout. I split a bottle with my brother in law. It would literally have to be a beer that you would spend all day drinking so you wouldn't get drunk. Very cool beer though!


Nose: Very juicy maraschino cherries, incredibly sweet oranges, spicy cinnamon, iced tea, butter pecan syrup, clove in the form of Peychaud's bitters, sugary wood, toasted marshmallows, spicy ginger snaps.

Taste: Lots of sugary wood, nutmeg reminiscent of egg nog, spicy cinnamon, clove, apple pie, and even some pine needles. The sweet spice is once again very similar to Peychaud's bitters. Very assertive.

Finish: Initially spicy, some orange, peel and all, settling on toasted wood.

Once again a member of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection wows me. This collection of whiskey is simply fantastic. This one, and the William Larue Weller from the same release, prove to me that American bourbon and rye can be just as engaging and complex as single malt Scotch whisky and in some cases, more so.

I find the notes of Peychaud's bitters to be interesting and humorous given that Peychaud's bitters is produced by the Sazerac Company here in New Orleans, which happens to be the company that owns Buffalo Trace. It may sound silly, but I take a certain amount of pride knowing that this exceptional whiskey was produced by a distillery owned by a company in my hometown. The whisky industry often feels so far removed from me as, often, attention is given to Scotland. It's nice to drink something that has a local story in mind, even though it was distilled in Kentucky.


So, we continue our little journey through the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, and this time with the T.H.Handy 2010, straight Rye.I’m quite fond of rye whiskies, and this one is no exception. It turned out to be a fab example of rye whiskies. This one should be around 6 years of age, and is bottled at a whopping Cask strength of 63.45%. Mamma mia.

Let’s dive…

Nose: A rye nose but not as powerful rye as expected , and that is a good thing. Spicy almost peppermint-y. The kind you find in cinnamon pepper bubble gum. In addition lots of Vanilla ,some dill, liquorice. a twist of Turkish delight and rose water. Wow! That is one hell of a complex nose. Palate: It needs some time to open and release all those lovely flavours , Starting hot and sweet. With a lot of sugar, maple, milk chocolate and chilly. A stunner. Finish: Rye notes and spices. Fairly long.

Bottom line:

This is nothing short of a stunner. Complex, with a lot of oomph, and rye goodness. I love it. It’s not the most rounded of all, but it’s good for you! Not cheap, but if you’re in the USA you can find it a lot cheaper at around $80. Now that’s an amazing price over there.


This review is of the fall 2010 5th release of the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey, one of the five whiskeys in the Sazerac Antiquities Collection, together with Eagle Rare 17 yo Bourbon, George T. Stagg Bourbon, William Larue Weller Bourbon, and the Sazerac 18 yo Rye Whiskey.

Nose: medium intensity, slightly sweet, and also spicy, some citrus, some vanilla, faint caramel

Taste: An explosion of vivid, crisp, bright rye spiciness in the mouth. The rye flavours are exceptionally vibrant in this whiskey. The wood is much more in evidence on the palate than in the nose. Sweet and dry at the same time. The barrel proof 126.9 proof alcohol level works well with the crisp rye and wood flavours.

Finish: Long and very consistent gradual fade out of all of those intense flavours.

Balance: I like Rye Whiskey the most of all styles and this is my favourite rye whiskey. Jim Murray named this 2011 Second Finest Whisky in the World. The only rye I have ever found more intriguing is almost impossible to acquire now: the 2007 release Willett 23 yr old "The Iron Fist" Rye Whiskey. But I would probably drink this one nearly as often as I would drink the Iron Fist, if I had a bottle. If you can, get your hands on a bottle of this whiskey while it is still available.

Hi Victor, I was able to buy a bottle of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey yesterday. It's 64.3 % ABV Limited Edition & Barrel Proof. I'm aware this RYE is one of your top favorites. The store had no idea when this was released. I'm not seeing any date/year printed on the bottle. The bottle you reviewed was 2010 release. Is there any way to determine the release year of my bottle? Thank you. By the way, here are the rest of what I purchased as recommended by you- Knob Creek Rye Small Batch 50% abv, Knob Creek Aged 9 Years 60% abv, Bulleit 95 Rye, Old Grand Dad 114, Old Weller Antique 107, Wild Turkey Rare Breed & Maker's 46. Pretty soon I will be savouring these fine American Whiskeys since its starting to get colder down here in Florida. Again, thank you for these recommendations... it made my buying decisions easier.

Hello @Reyzar. I hope that you have many excellent times with your nice haul of bourbons and ryes!

%ABV is the only marking on the bottle labels which will allow you to identify the release years of the three barrel proof members of the Sazerac Antique Collection: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, William Larue Weller (wheated) Bourbon, and George T. Stagg Bourbon. 64.3% ABV Thomas H. Handy Rye is from the 2011 release, which, interestingly, was just named by Jim Murray the 2013 World Whisky of the Year.


This is a seriously lively whiskey! Very Classy. Long Finish, really redefines Rye whiskey for me. A real eye opener! Drinking this brings to mind a diamond shell of crystallized rye that melts into a dream of warming fruits, caramel, beautiful rye. One of the all-time greats! Fantastic!

Hehe nice title!

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