The oddball of the Antique Collection that doesn't sport a hefty age statement is the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac rye. At just 6 years old - compared to the 12-18 year ages of the other releases - this doesn't scream "top of the line" to me. According to Buffalo Trace this release was launched in request to consumer request for more well-aged and barrel strength whiskey. The age statement tied to it seems to be a little at odds with that ethos, but I'll let it slide for now. My previous experience with Thomas H. Handy only goes as far as the 2019 release, which I thought didn't really land. I ended up making a lot of good old fashioneds with that bottle though which was definitely fun (and infuriating to some). Let's see if the 2022 release can improve against the 3/5 benchmark I gave that.
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Buffalo Trace Rye Mash Bill (Assumed/Estimated at 51% rye)
Age: 6 years, 4 months
Further identification: The 2022 release of Thomas H. Handy shows off the following stats:
Nose: The deep, rich aroma of entering a Kentucky rickhouse emanates from this glass from afar. Dipping my nose in reveals cherry skins, raisin and rich caramel tones. One could easily mistake this for a bourbon at first glance. Dipping my nose back in I find exuberantly sweet perfume notes alongside pear and apricot. Blood orange and fizzy Fresca emanate from late in the glass. Deep inhales don't offer many new complexities. The empty glass smells of honeysuckle, wood chips and dried cherries.
Palate: My first sip is bodacious, showing off rich bubblegum, lemon zest and orange creamsicle flavors that burst in juicy flashes on the tongue. Another sip adds dynamic grapefruit and peach marmalade. This is a classic, bright, citrusy rye for those who enjoy a bit of zest in their whiskey. Lemon peel continues to dominate in the shimmering linger alongside some hints of creamy tea. Sipping down near the bottom of the glass I find flashes of macerated raspberry and blackberry which is a nice surprise. My last sip is punchy with more tea, peach and pear that comes before a long sunset of lemon tones.
TL;DR: A classic, zesty rye with plenty of lemon and tropical fruit to go around
This is a classic, sweet, effervescent rye that feels a little out of place in the Antique Collection lineup for me. I would love to blind this against a good 6-8 year 95/5 rye from MGP or Bardstown Bourbon Co. It might also drink pretty close to a younger Willett rye too. It's approachable & just fine for what it is. The keep Amongst the Whiskey designation means it clearly serves a purpose here, and it is justified at the 3.5/5 score given my bonus bump for enjoying it as much as I do amongst friends.