I thought I would treat my self and pick out something special for my 300th whisky review. I wasn't counting until recently and only just realized that I was a few short of a triple.
So I said 'Why not? Treat yourself, son, you deserve it for all your hard work.' Because whisky drinking is just that. A treat.
I thought long and hard and settled on the 2013 bottle of the Thomas H Handy Sazerac straight rye whiskey from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It's older brother by a year ended up winning top honors with a certain Jim Murray the year before. Since I didn't have two of those I decided to open this one (of which I do have another).
I have not had a lot of experience drinking rye whiskey. I would like to, though. The spicier, drier cousin of straight bourbons rye whiskey is made from a minimum mash of 51% rye with barley and corn making up the rest. Straight rye means it's been aged for a minimum of 2 years in virgin American oak.
This particular one ha seen a bit more ageing than the minimum. This year’s was distilled in the spring of 2007 and aged on the seventh floor of Warehouse K. At 6 years old, it is the youngster of the Antique Collection.
Bottled at 128.4 Proof (64.2% ABV) my sample is from a brand new bottle.
Nose: Quite sweet. Almost made me salivate. Dry. Leather. Mocha. Coffee beans. Cinnamon. Pomegranate. Rose water. Vanilla. Chocolate digestives. Cherry licorice. Cola. Cherry cola. Oak. Strong, bold spicy aromas. Love it!
Palate: Very hot. Lots of cinnamon and black pepper spices. Leather. Red wine tannins. Coffee. Gets even more spicier mid-palate. I can actually taste the rye here. Spearmint. Chocolate. Vanilla. I wasn't too taken it with on my first sip but then the second and third really drove it up a notch.
Finish: Long. Extremely long. Oak. Long. Cinnamon. Long. A touch dry. A touch bitter. And did I say long? Very long.
I'm glad I made this one signify a small milestone. These are precisely the type of flavors that drove me into the arms of whisky in the first place. So it was only fair that I pick this one up from the shelf to mark an occassion.
Bravo, @MaltActivist! Thanks for the 300 wonderful reviews you have contributed to the canon of whisky review literature. Feels good hitting 300, doesn't it?
Not all Thomas H Handys show spearmint notes. In my book that is a good thing.
Congratulations, 300 is a big milestone. I always enjoy your reviews.
I love Ryes that have that cherry note, makes them taste like a Manhattan straight up un a glass.
I've only ever seen one bottle in a Liquor store, it was at online prices, I had to pass. It's on my bucket list, though.
Best Regards, Cheers, Ben