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Nose: Luxury soap, scented candles and Early Grey tea. What an opening. It's clear from the start we're dealing with a highly luxurious rye. Victoria sponge cake, strawberry jam, marmalade, nut cake and nectarines. Truly sumptuous. And it doesn't end there. Wet hay, cigar, wet tobacco and waxy rain jackets. It's a stunning package of flavours, so elegantly woven together. I would dare to say faultless.
Taste: The indulgence continues. Bananas and coconuts, smothered with Nutella and washed down with a vanilla milkshake. A layer of spice helps break up the sugar festival, with eucalyptus, bitter wax and oyster sauce coming through. Like the nose this is stunning stuff, although if one were to find a criticism it would be that the spice is slightly drowned out by the intense initial sweetness. We're really nit-picking here though.
Finish: The spice has more of a say here on the finish, although it is delicately soft and beautifully fused with the sweeter elements. Aniseed herbal sweets, cinnamon raisins, ginger tobacco, spicy tangerine syrup, all resting on a cushion of dark chocolate mousse. Once again sumptuous stuff. And at 64.3%, this is dangerously drinkable...
Balance: The Thomas H. Handy Sazerac is truly unique, there is nothing else that tastes quite like it. It's alluring and attention grabbing, yet at the same time soft and delicate in its delivery. This is a whiskey that one remembers long after drinking it, and for all the right reasons. That tends to be a mark of greatness in any field, and great whiskey this most certainly is.