A truly exceptional barrel proof rye whiskey.
Notes: This was the first release of the Thomas Handy Sazerac and a new addition to the Antique Collection. If you can find any in any dark corners I suggest you grab it as it is both a collectors item and a great bottle to drink. Production was very limited – less than 1/3 the number of barrels than the George T.Stagg.
It is the only barrel-proof rye on the market today.
This whiskey is produced at the scenic Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort (close to Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring) home of numerous other whiskies- mostly bourbons – but also Sazerac 18 Year-Old Rye and a 6 year-old version of Sazerac (for 1/2 the money and much more available- relatively speaking). This whiskey hails from the 8th floor of the same warehouse (K) as the 18 year old Sazerac See our Adventure Section for a tour of the distillery.
This is not a single barrel (see above) but a small batch from the mixing of a very small group of barrels.In what seems to be a company tradition, (and a refreshing one at that). The price of this whiskey is nowhere near the kind of money the competition would charge for similar quality if they could match it – it is much less.
Appearance: Hard red wheat color. Beautiful clarity and sheen/brightness to the whiskey. The color promises that you are in for a treat, well aged but not over the hill. Color of light Baltic amber in the glass. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling with scalloped edges rather than legs developing.
First Impression: Rye, allspice, fuity spiciness, saddle leather notes. Damn solid- most whiskey this high a proof would start to burn the nose, this one teases it.
Taste: Nice medium/heavy body and mouth feel generating warmth wherever it touches with a spicy sourness underlying. Like a very intense almost essence of rye bread. Lingering spicy oak dryness. Remarkably smooth fpr a overproof whiskey – possibly dangerously so.
Drinks: Rye is, of course, the proper whiskey for a Manhattan. Bourbon was later substituted as rye was on the brink of extinction for a number of years until recently, but rye was the original ingredient. The high proof calls for some adjustments in recipes unless you want a short evening.
Cigars: Works well with any of the Hemingway series.
Bottle: The long, thin, clear glass, and small labels show off the color of the whiskey to good effect. The clear glass bottom lends a nice visual effect and give the bottle a decanter type feel and weight. A spare design that does not distract from the centerpiece, the bourbon. There is a small rectangular label near the bottom of the bottle that tells you the proof and bottling date. It is distinguished from the other bottles in the Sazerac Antique Collection by a dark green neck foil with gold bands
Final Thoughts: A very interesting whisky. Exceptionally well made, idiosyncratic and unique. A must have for a Rye Whiskey drinker. I can’t wait for an older version!
Web site: http://www.bourbonwhiskey.com
Fast loading with a slightly annoying intro (no need for it). This however is
followed by a display of all the bourbons and ryes they make (over twenty, not counting overseas variations). Extensive information and good pictures of each one, with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations.