Whisky Connosr

Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye bottled 2014

BTAC 2014 Part I of III

787

@talexanderReview by @talexander

16th Feb 2015

0

Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye bottled 2014
  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    21
  • Overall
    87

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

After reviewing two unaged grain spirits (shudder), I had to step up my game a little. Maybe I stepped it up a bit too much...

A couple of months ago, our provincial liquor monopoly / retailer / dictator / gouger brought in some of the 2014 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottlings. Knowing of course that demand would far outstrip supply, they developed a lottery system whereby you win the chance to purchase the bottles (which I've never seen them do before). Luckily, I won one bottle, and two friends won two other bottles, which means....sample swap!!

The 2014 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye was distilled in the spring of 2008, matured in 47 barrels for six years and three months, then bottled in the fall of 2014.

The colour is a deep reddish copper. On the nose we have those beautiful notes of rye spice, pepper, herbs, wet slate and cinnamon / cloves. Hints of vanilla and coconut. Becomes richer and fruitier with water. Very nice but not as robust as in previous bottlings.

Very mouth-drying on the palate, with more vanilla, Christmas spices (more nutmeg on the palate than on the nose) and stone fruits. Very big and robust but a little overpowering. Water smooths things out but retains the punch - but it's still a bit too much punch.

The finish is hot and dry, with herbaceous notes and overwhelming spice. This is a powerful rye but I think it needs a bit more subtlety and complexity, which I found was there in prior years. However, you still can't go wrong with the Handy. Delicious as always.

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7 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

An 87 pt Thomas Handy Rye? YIKES! John Hansell of Whisky Advocate said that the 2014 Thomas H Handy was below its usual standards. Apparently you find it so also. Too bad. Hopefully future years will be more back to the prior norm. Thanks for your review.

about one year ago

@talexander
talexander commented

I apologize for not crediting @Nozinan for this sample.

about one year ago

@talexander
talexander commented

@Victor, I agree with Hansell but nevertheless, still very much worth drinking.

about one year ago

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

This was my first non-Alberta Premium distilled rye (well, the details of that night are fuzzy (- there may have been another non-BTAC rye first). I have to say I was quite surprised, and very impressed, but I have no other example against which to gauge this.

I still haven't recovered completely from that evening, but when I do, I may review it myself...

about one year ago

@MaltActivist
MaltActivist commented

Thanks @talexander for the review. Just wanted to stop by and wish you a belated Review Milestone on your 300th review! Love reading your opinions. Cheers.

about one year ago

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

An entertaining review and perhaps the best 87 I've had in a while. I'm pleased to see you have abandoned the hootch for some barrel-aged high test - looking forward to the rest of your BTAC presentation.

about one year ago