Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 2011

Thomas H Handy 2011.jpg

Thanks to /u/devoz for this mystery dram.

At this point the alcohol has kicked in. My bravado is up. I’m feeling confident like I haven’t felt before.

And then someone mentions up next, we have a mystery dram.

My eyes constantly dart back and forth when a Mystery dram is brought up. I’m utter shit at guessing.

I can hear the others and put together how they add profiles together, seamlessly, stating what should be obvious.

All the while I sit in the corner and forget literally every single whiskey I’ve ever drank.

If you’re wondering, my guess on this one was “A Virgin Cask Speyside, around 15 years old”.

On the other hand /u/lasidar guessed it right off the bat.

Let’s follow my thoughts on it, shall we? Most of you know about Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 2011, or at least enough to recognize Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottles when you see them.

Well I reviewed this one blind. How, oh how, did I miss the mark so much?

Price: Sells for $140 (CAD) each year to a lucky few in Ontario

Region: Kentucky

Abv: 64.3%

Colour: 2.5Y 7/8

Nose: Wedding/hipster barn, nectarine, carpet sample, artificial vanilla, floral

There’s a lot of Hay on the nose. It’s at this point that wunderkind stated it was a bourbon with lots of rye.

I kept nosing it. The fruit came after the clean barn smell. Then something odd. We debated if it was mustyness of an old ladies house. Then if the old lady was musty. Then I came back to the dram.

It didn’t have enough orange or spice on it to ring “Rye” to me. There was more floral notes, which I usually assume are a Lowland. That said, there’s no way this was a Lowland, even at cask strength.

Then I kept coming back to the vanilla notes that weren’t quite sweet and had something off. And then I was lost.

Taste: Orange, molasses, cherry, lemon candy, caramel

See, here’s where I should have said rye. There was orange right off the top that eventually goes to caramel.

The problem was I was tasting all this sweet fruit notes and didn’t even consider another bourbon. I mean, we did a bourbon already. Another one? That’s literally crazy.

The alcohol may have been affecting me at this point.

Finish: Melon, brown sugar, butter, dry, oak, grapefruit

Tart finish. Brown sugar. Dry. And… grapefruit? I mean, looking at the notes again, I want to say I’d recognize this, but the melon threw me off.

Conclusion: So there’s a lot of fruit in this dram. So much so that I kept saying it couldn’t be a rye. Because normally rye, to me, doesn’t have all this fruit. Or is this fruity. Or however you want to say it.

So I kept thinking: It’s not super light, so it’s not a Lowland. There’s no peat, so not an Islay. And I don’t hate it, so not a Highland. Must be a Speyside Single Barrel that was done in virgin oak. It has the complexity of something at 15 years, and the nose is quite unique.

So I was wrong. Except the virgin oak part. Well, here’s hoping I do better on the next mystery pours (spoiler: I fucking don’t).

85/100

Bourbon review #167, Kentucky review #104, Whiskey Network review #874

101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die review #71

1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #309

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