Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 2014

handyThomas H. Handy Rye (most simply referred to as “Handy” by whiskey enthusiasts) is part of the annually released Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC). BTAC whiskies consist of famous brands of the whiskey world including George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, Sazerac 18, Eagle Rare 17 and the aforementioned Handy. This high-end rye whiskey is named after a New Orleans bartender who first used rye whiskey in the now famous Sazerac Cocktail. Handy is unfiltered and bottled at cask strength. The 2014 release clocks in at a monstrous 64.2% abv. Opposite of our last review of the entry-level Old Overholt Rye, Handy Rye is considered among the top echelon of American rye whiskies and is highly limited in distribution and availability in NY. Handy is incredibly vibrant on the nose. Sharp notes of vanilla spice, rye, and a bouquet of fresh herbs and spices. One of the best features of this whiskey is how well masked the high alcohol content is. As Handy sits in the glass it gains more and more complexity, the alcohol always a second fiddle to the flavor. On the palate we get some heat, but it compliments the spicy rye characteristics wonderfully. Handy’s finish is epically warm and long. It stays with you a good while, leaving pungent traces of herbal flavors that weave themselves back through the nose as you begin your next sip. This is an excellent whiskey, but it’s not obtained easily. Best local bet for a bottle of Handy is to get on as many liquor store call and waiting lists as you can and hope they get a good allotment. The 2015 Handy release should get to NY sometime between October and December. BWG rating: 94/100.

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