Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye

In three words: Cask-strength, Spicy, Delicious

In more words: while I was enjoying dinner at Windsor, I sampled the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye.  I've long been a fan of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (of which the Handy is part), and I'm always a fan of a good rye whiskey, so the Handy and I were a match made in heaven.

The waitstaff at Windsor and the barkeep were too busy with the Friday dinner crowd to tell me the ABV on their particular bottle of Handy, but, fortunately for me, I've got my own.  So I'll be forced to re-sample the Handy so as to give you, the reader, the most accurate information possible. You're welcome.  My bottle is 132.4 proof.  Knowing my inability to divide by two, the kind folks at Buffalo Trace have done the math for me; this bottle is 66.2% alcohol by volume.

Color: Amber

Nose: First whiff, a ton of alcohol, a little spice and wood.  Second whiff, ton of spice and wood, still a lot of alcohol.

Palate: A potent blast of spice and oak.  While there's no question it's cask-strength, it is remarkably balanced and drinkable without adding water (my recommendation).  Water does bring out some more flavors buried beneath its kick (more clove, cinnamon, and a little mint), but weakens the experience overall -- maybe save the water for the last bit.

Finish: The burn lasts from start to finish, and the finish is long.  As the heat -- eventually -- dies down, some more typical whiskey flavors come through (honey, brown sugar).

Overall: 9.5 out of 10 -- do what you legally can to get yourself a bottle.  Even at $75-$100 it's well worth it.

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