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Old 02-20-2011, 04:38 PM   #1
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2009 & 2010 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Ryes. . . .

Also the new Top Ten Rye listing. If you're looking for tasty, affordable rye these days, in my opinion, one of your best searches and bang for the buck can be had with this annual release from The Antique Collection. The best bet would be the same collection's annual release of the Sazerac 18 year old rye, which is consistently great from year to year, although it's been a while since I had it.

The Thomas H. Handy ryes are an annual pick of certain barrels, bottled at barrel strength, and like the annual George T. Stagg bourbon release, can vary in flavor profile and age, with the distillery simply looking for that year's best representation for the label. The Thomas H. Handy rye is also out of the price range of Average Joe, unless Joe has a little extra money in his pocket, and is looking for a triple digit proof of a rye whiskey that will be a refreshing change from something he may be more familiar with.

The 2009 release at 129 proof, while having a pleasant enough flavor profile, was muted in flavor, with oak, clover honey and vanilla perhaps being most prevalent. It's better than a number of others on my list, because as I've stated so many times, there just isn't that much great rye whiskey around. With more and companies jumping on the bandwagon, that may change with time.

A very nice surprise, and one that has me regretting not purchasing more than one bottle, instead of the two I bought of 2009, is the 2010, 126.9 proof release of the Thomas H. Handy rye. This one has a rich flavor and heavier body than 2009, very complex, with notes of dried pears as well the usual oak, honey and others too varied and numerous for me to name them all. Although it would take $70-80 to walk out with a bottle of this in any given year, if that's all you have and can afford to treat yourself, it's worth the shot. Even when you get a "dud" like the 2009 expression, it's still better than 90% of any other rye whiskeys you're liable to get your hands on, and a number of them cost a LOT more. The new Bloofingtonian Top Ten Rye List is below, and will be added to the sticky thread, also.

[center:26hr1sei]Top 10 Rye List[/center:26hr1sei]
1. The Classic Cask 22 year
2. Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year (A-E bottles)
3. The Classic Cask 21 year
4. 2007 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 134.8 proof
5. Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year (F-? bottles)
6. Sazerac 18 year
7. 2010 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 126.9 proof
8. 2006 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 132.7 proof
9. 2009 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, 129 proof
10. WhistlePig 10 year
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