Thomas H. Handy Rye Whiskey. It’s another one of those Buffalo Trace Antique Collection limited annual releases that falls under the category of “if you can find a bottle and can afford it, you should buy it.” That is if you want to experience what is one of the most expressive powerhouses of rye whiskey that there is today.
2012 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
132.4 Proof, Approx. $75 retail
132.4. That’s the proof. It sounds high, and it is, but the nose holds its heat in pretty well. Wintergreen and caramel and cinnamon sticks, thin mints and strawberries and juicy red grapes, all kinds of crazy things pouring forth. And I mean crazy. Like “who stuck that Doublemint chewing gum in my caramel-coated strawberry” kinda crazy.
Sipping this stuff neat is doable, but I can’t say I recommend it. It’s like putting jet fuel in your Jaguar, overwhelming the underlying elegance with burn. A good dose of water is all it takes though to bring this baby into a sweet but still muscular harmony. I’m no comic book fan, but enough of you have seen the Avengers to be able to imagine those moments when the Hulk is calm and reflective but still big and brawny, huffing from destroying a few city blocks. That’s Thomas H. Handy after a bit of water, still massively strong but in repose. Those notes from just a whiff carry over into a sip, muscling their way in to every nook and cranny of your tastebuds. POW! BAM! SMASH! I’d call it Thomas H. Handy’s Red Hot Vanilla-Mint Caramel Elixir and Energy Fuel of the Gods.
Would I use this powerful elixir in a cocktail? No. Never. And if you do, I’ll send the Hulk after you to punch your face in.
* Thirsty South Rating Scale:
Wow – among the very best: knock-your-socks-off, profound, complex liquid gold!
Excellent – exceptional in quality and character, worth seeking out, highly recommended
Good Stuff – solid expression of its type/varietal, enjoyable and recommended
Fair – fairly standard or exhibiting obvious though minor flaws
Avoid – move away folks, nothing to see here, a trainwreck