Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey – 2014 Release
What the Distillery Says:
Named after the New Orleans bartender who first used rye whiskey in the Sazerac Cocktail, this uncut and unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey is bottled directly from the barrel, just as it was over a century ago. Full of rich flavors, this authentic American rye whiskey is a symbol of the timeless history of New Orleans and the legacy of Thomas H. Handy.
TASTING NOTES: Powerful, lush, and boldly spicy. Flavors of toffee, fig cake, and candied fruit, followed by mint, cinnamon and clove. The finish ultimately reveals subtle notes of allspice, coconut and nutmeg. Long and warm.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Toasted orange zest and mango, cinnamon, nutmeg, warm banana nut cookies with toasted oak.
Palate: Christmas; fruit cake; warm pepper spice, stewed raisins, red hots, orange bitters.
Finish: Warms to near hot, but lingers nicely.
Comments: While not a departure from the Thomas H. Handy flavor profile, this one comes across as a bit harsher with more alcohol burn. I compared it to the 2011 release (the only other one I have on-hand) after making my notes, and it definitely has more edge to it – despite being only 0.3 ABV higher. The good news is most of us are not often sipping this next to a previous vintage. Handy has always been a rough and up-front rye whiskey, and it delivers on that – with perhaps a bit more of a bite. If you have been a fan of Handy in the past, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed – and if you’ve never had the opportunity – I recommend giving this one a try!
Rating: Stands Out/Must Try
What Richard Says:
Nose: Mint tea, with a fruitcake scone drizzled with cinnamon icing.
Palate: More fruitcake up front followed by citrus zest, cinnamon, and then a harsh peppery kick in the teeth.
Finish: Whoa hot! It takes more than a few splashes of water to tame this beast. Once the heat dies down it’s much more of a bitter wood flavor.
Comments: Not my favorite rye for sure. The nose is great; the palate isn’t doing it for me but all the components are there to make an outstanding old fashioned. It’s a bit pricey for a cocktail rye and the finish is too off putting for a sipper. I’m not sure what I would do with this bottle if I’d bought it rather than sampled Gary’s bottle.
Rating: Stands Out