Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey (2014) Review


The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection contains three bourbons and two rye whiskies.  Of those two rye whiskies, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac rye is the younger barrel proof whiskey.    Thomas H. Handy Sazerac is basically an uncut and unfiltered version of Sazerac 6-ish year old 90 proof rye whiskey.  This year’s edition comes in at 129.2 proof.

According to Buffalo Trace’s website, Thomas H. Handy was the first bartender to use rye whiskey in a sazerac cocktail instead of cognac.  This happened right here in New Orleans.  The whisky’s label lovingly reflects its New Orleans heritage.  So, how does it taste?

Buffalo Trace Distillery provided a review sample.  Right off, there’s a grassy/grainy smell.  Beyond that there’s some cinnamon and a little burnt caramel.  This whisky tastes quite oaky, more than what I was expecting.  There’s some rye spice and caramel.  I even get a little fruit cake.  The finish is long, spicy and dry (probably because of the oak).

This year’s Thomas Handy rye is good, but I like last year’s better.  I found a bottle of the 2013 this past spring just sitting on a shelf at a local supermarket.  What are the odds?  The 2013 edition seemed to have all the flavors come together better than the 2014 edition.  That isn’t to say the flavors are all over the place.  Put it like this, if I could buy all 5 whiskies of this year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, I would.  If I only had the chance to buy 4 of the 5 whiskies, I’d leave this one on the shelf.


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