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I’m sure by now you know that I’ve very little experience with rye, especially that which comes from the US. So in 2014 when I entered my first BTAC lottery, what did I end up with? Yup, Thomas Handy. I wasn’t even going to shell out $130 but @Victor convinced me to pick it up knowing that someone would want it if I didn’t. Then @Talexander come up with a great idea…host a tasting for a bunch of die-hard fans with the centrepiece being the three CS expressions.
In order to prepare for this I tried AP, AP25 and AP30, and even bought a bottle of the not half bad Canadian Club 100% rye.
On Jan. 31 2015 we met at his house, the Weller generously provided by @paddockjudge and his Stagg at the ready. That was one epic tasting. After tasting and samples poured off, when I got home I decanted the remainder into a 240 cc bottle (it fit perfectly), and since that time I have opened it once for someone to try and it has remained closed and gassed since that time. In fact, I had a hard time unscrewing the cap!
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Neat – From the pour, high pitched fruit hits first, with some vanilla and caramel in the background. With time some light syrup and a hint of pickle juice. The alcohol is a little sharp. Rome red berries and dust. I wouldn’t say complex, but certainly not unidimentional. 22/25
With water – I get no appreciable difference in the nose.
Neat – Wow! First taste is sweet, caramel, slightly effervescent. Hard to believe it’s 64.6%. Some vanilla and caramel. A dry, astringent progression. Hint of pickle juice. Maybe just a tad too sweet. 21/25
With water – Richer. Creamier. The flavours are less distinct but come together to form a wonderful sensation in the mouth. (22/25)
Finish: Short. The mouth is dry. Dill. There is a hint of what was there before. 21/25 Water makes little difference, the dill is less prominent but still there.
Balance: The nose and the taste complement each other will. I think this is a well-balanced dram. 22/25
Score: Neat - 86 /100 With Water: 87/100
*Overall Enjoyment: 89/100**
As I’ve said, rye isn’t my thing. I can’t say how this compares to other ryes out there because I really haven’t tried enough of them. I’ll have to see how I feel when I try the sample of Boss Hog that I have waiting for me.
But it’s good. Not something in my regular rotation (who has a BTAC in their regular rotation?) but something to share with someone who really likes ryes when he or she comes to visit.