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Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye bottled 2013

Happy Independence Day Part III

0 596

@talexanderReview by @talexander

13th Jul 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This bottle was an entirely accidental find at Premier Wines & Liquors in Buffalo. We walked into the store and there, for no reason, were eleven bottles of this just sitting there for the taking. After high-fiving each other in the middle of the store for a while, Chris and I picked up a bottle each (should've bought more, damn it!)

Who is Thomas H. Handy? Born in 1830, he worked for the owner of the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans; when the owner died, he bought the place. He and his friend Antoine Peychaud Jr. served Sazerac cocktails to great success. When Handy decided to replace French brandy with American rye whiskey, patrons raved and business grew even more.

This is a strange whiskey to be part of Buffalo Trace's Antique Collection, since it carries no age statement and is likely very young, probably six to seven years old. But then again, the flavour profile is probably more similar to the rye whiskies of yesteryear than the 18 Year Old, or the standard Sazerac Rye. It is uncoloured, unfiltered and cask strength (hence the variations with every annual release).

The colour is a deep dark golden colour with reddish highlights. On the nose, dill pickle (with eucalyptus?), raspberries, cloves and vanilla pods. Tons of spices, actually, including cinnamon and nutmeg. Old leather. Some caramel as well. Beautiful, but with water it's perfection, with more mint and rye spices but retaining the fruitiness.

On the palate, quite hot and mouth-drying. Lots of mint, oak, leather, and ginger. Hugely spicy, lots of pepper and tobacco. Incredibly complex. Water works wonderfully, taming the alcohol and adding a little smoke with cayenne. Not for the faint of heart!

Finish is extremely deep and powerful, warming but also very clean, with lots of spice, cloves, and late-arriving spearmint. This is power, beauty and complexity in a glass. If you find this, or any Antique Collection bottles, buy them immediately. This is a stunning spirit. Previous releases have won such awards as Best North American Non-Bourbon Whiskey from the World Whiskies Awards (2011) and the 2011 Release won 2013 World Whisky Of The Year from Jim Murray. This 2012 Release scored a 92 from John Hansell in Whisky Advocate. Well deserving of everything.

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GotOak91 commented

I would love to acquire the Antique Collection. This sounds like an excellent drop.

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

It truly is. All of them are. Every time I think I have a favourite, I taste another one and change my mind.......

8 years ago 0

CanadianNinja commented

So talexander, if you could only purchase one bottle which would it be, a George T. Stagg (any year) or a Thomas H. Handy?

8 years ago 0

talexander commented

Holy Sophie's Choice! My God. Which child do I send to the ovens...well, tonight I've had my share of Stagg...so right now, I'm a little Stagged out (translation: my mouth is a burning oak forest). So I'm going to say Handy. No! Stop, evil Nazi! Give me back my Staaaaagggg!!!!

8 years ago 0

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