Holy shit I FINALLY got a bottle from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. Normally things such as paying crazy secondary market prices, complicated long-term trading strategies, or standing in huge lines hoping to win a raffle are required to land one of these bad boys, but not this time. Here in Oklahoma if any of the BTAC make it into the state they are quickly gobbled up before they even make it to shelves. Those pesky distributors and store owners keep them and leave us thirsty consumers out to dry. Not this time, however. A single bottle from the BTAC line was sold by one of my favorite stores in OKC and that bottle went to yours truly. I couldn’t be happier.
There are two ryes that are a part of the BTAC line, Sazerac 18 and Handy. Sazerac 18 is an older version of the normal Sazerac expression (also known as Baby Saz and aged around 6 years), proofed down to 90 proof. Handy is a barrel strength release of that Baby Saz. Around 12,000 bottles of Handy were released this year and I’m about to crack one of them.
Enough talk, let’s see how it is.
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Mash Bill: BT Rye Mashbill
Age: 6 years, 3 months
ABV: 63.1% (126.2 proof)
Released: Fall 2016
Color: Fancy honey
Nose: I kind of want to smell this forever. Delicious cola things, rich layers of oak, nutmeg, dry fruit (like prunes), and sweet cherry are all jumping out at me. Every time I go back to this and put the smells up my nose I get new things like subtle white chocolate and citrus.
Taste: Where to start…there is so much going on. Rich toffee, warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, bright orange peel, and deep oak vibes are all dialed up to 11. The texture is silky which keeps all the flavors in check and allows the complexity to really shine.
Finish: The oak hangs around along with the baking spices and some cherry candy sweetness. There is a bit of black pepper too that spices things up and makes for a very complex fade away.
Overall: I feel like I said “complex” a bunch of times, but for real…this stuff is complex. For only 6 years old this whiskey shows a ton of maturity and and I’m glad it’s not a day older as everything is perfectly balanced. As far as why I drink whiskey, this stuff has it all. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s fruity, it’s oaky, It’s boozy, it’s silky. I’m in love.
I also want to point out that I resisted making a “handy” joke this whole time. I feel like I should win something.