Distiller: Buffalo Trace. ABV: 64.6% (2014 bottling). Age: 6 years. Price: $80-400+
There’s something a little cruel in talking up the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, BT’s annual release of the absolute cream of the crop. There are five bottles in the collection: George T. Stagg Bourbon, Sazerac Rye 18 Year-Old, William Larue Weller Wheated Bourbon, Eagle Rare 17 Year-Old Bourbon, and this, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye. All cask strength. All among the best in their genre.
Cruel, I say, because they’re so damn hard to find. And when they are, they usually cost 5 to 10 times MSRP.
That said, the Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye is one of those drams you remember for hours. For days. You instantly know why it’s acquired cult status.
Have you tried the 6-year-old Sazerac Rye, a.k.a. Baby Saz? (You should–it’s one of the best sub-$50 ryes on the market.) Imagine that turned up to 11. But subtler, rounder, richer, unfiltered, and insanely drinkable–even at 64.6% ABV. Doesn’t need water. Not a drop.
You know what it’s like? A Christmas orange studded with cloves, stored for a day or two in a cedar box. And a little toasted coconut on the nose. One of the great ryes.
If only I could get my hands on a bottle… – BO