PDA

View Full Version : Thomas Handy Sazerac vs. Sazerac 18



unclebunk
01-12-2009, 16:19
I had a dilemma today and wondered what the rest of you would have done in my situation. I happened upon a liquor store with excellent prices on many bourbons (Pappy 15 for $37!!) and ryes. I was torn between getting the Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (132.7 proof) and the Sazerac 18 (90 proof). Having never sampled either of them, I couldn't decide between high octane on the one hand and age on the other. The Handy Sazerac oddly had no age statement but surely must be chock full flavor at 132 proof. The Sazerac 18 is only 90 proof (pretty much as low as I like to go) but after 18 years in the barrel must have tons of extraordinary flavor as well. I loved Baby Saz, Rittenhouse BIB and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye but am dying to try these Sazeracs. Each one cost $51 and I couldn't afford both, so I ended up leaving empty handed until I could get some feedback from you folks. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

funknik
01-12-2009, 16:33
When faced with the same decision, I picked the Handy and was not disappointed.

OscarV
01-12-2009, 16:33
Hey Uncle, as far as the Handy and the Saz 18 goes.
Get the first release of the Saz 18.
How do you identify it?
Beats me, maybe someone will chime in.

smokinjoe
01-12-2009, 16:37
Uncle, buy all of that Pappy 15 at $37. Then, buy all of the Handy at $51. Then sir, go buy a Lottery Ticket. It's your day. :)
:toast:

SBOmarc
01-12-2009, 16:37
I have enjoyed both and can't say anything bad about Saz 18.
I would still buy the Handy.

sku
01-12-2009, 16:39
You just can't go wrong. I haven't had the most recent releases, but in the past, I've loved them both.

polyamnesia
01-12-2009, 17:36
same dilemma TOO....but i couldn't pay that much for 90 proof.....(lottery, yes, needed).

i chose octane...and incredible flavor...handy! one of the best bottles of whiskey i ever had!

Rughi
01-12-2009, 21:43
...
Get the first release of the Saz 18.
How do you identify it?
Beats me, maybe someone will chime in.

I think it has the year 2000 hand written on the label.

Roger

Virus_Of_Life
01-13-2009, 01:13
I think it has the year 2000 hand written on the label.

Roger
:slappin: :lol: :skep: :grin: Sorry if I wasn't supposed to find that funny, but I didn't know if the question nor the answer were supposed to be serious so it just hit me as pretty damn funny! Yes, I think you are right Roger the first Sazerac18 year has a bottle date of 2000 on it.

And IIRC, the 132.7 proof Handy was the first release, 2006. Yes, I just checked my bunker and it is. I'd buy it, I'd buy all of it they have for that matter. I understand the budget dilemma so given the choice of Handy or Saz18 at $51, I'd go Handy especially the first issue.

And Pappy15 at $37?!? I'm sorry, but you gotta get the credit card out on that one! You will not find it at that price for long and I really fear that is 1/2 of what it will be going for in the near future.

Rughi
01-13-2009, 08:59
Sorry if I wasn't supposed to find that funny, but I didn't know if the question nor the answer were supposed to be serious so it just hit me as pretty damn funny! Yes, I think you are right Roger the first Sazerac18 year has a bottle date of 2000 on it.

My memory wasn't so clear on it myself, and my bottle is in the part of the bunker that's not easy to access, so I wasn't in any hurry to dig it out. On second reading, I think Oscar may have meant the first era of Saz 18, not just the first year. I think that the VW rye and the old Saz were each blended with Medley whiskey and tanked the same year, so this spreadsheet and the link in the post (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=154482&highlight=fussychicken#post154482) by Steve should be helpful.

Anyway, from my faulty memory, these are the years for the BTACs

2000- Stagg
2000- ER "17"
2000-2003 Saz "18" First Era
2000-2004 Weller "19" (never seen an 03 or 04)

2004- Saz "18" Second Era
2005- Larue
2006- Handy

2009-Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Proof
2009-Fleischmann's Barrel Proof Rye
2009- Very Very Olde Barton Bond (8yo)

Okay, some of that is wishful thinking.

Roger

barturtle
01-13-2009, 09:26
My memory wasn't so clear on it myself, and my bottle is in the part of the bunker that's not easy to access, so I wasn't in any hurry to dig it out. On second reading, I think Oscar may have meant the first era of Saz 18, not just the first year. I think that the VW rye and the old Saz were each blended with Medley whiskey and tanked the same year, so this spreadsheet and the link in the post (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=154482&highlight=fussychicken#post154482) by Steve should be helpful.

Anyway, from my faulty memory, these are the years for the BTACs

2000- Stagg
2000- ER "17"
2000-2003 Saz "18" First Era
2000-2004 Weller "19" (never seen an 03 or 04)

2004- Saz "18" Second Era
2005- Larue
2006- Handy

2009-Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Proof
2009-Fleischmann's Barrel Proof Rye
2009- Very Very Olde Barton Bond (8yo)

Okay, some of that is wishful thinking.

Roger

The first Stagg was 2002
Weller 19 only ran 3 years 2000-2002

Rughi
01-13-2009, 10:26
The first Stagg was 2002
Weller 19 only ran 3 years 2000-2002

Yeah, but was I right on the 2009 releases?

unclebunk
01-13-2009, 11:12
Uncle, buy all of that Pappy 15 at $37. Then, buy all of the Handy at $51. Then sir, go buy a Lottery Ticket. It's your day. :)
:toast:

Thanks everyone for the quick and insightful feedback. I know that I'll eventually end up buying both of the Sazeracs but after reviewing all of your comments, I think I'll start with the Thomas Handy and get the Sazerac 18 another time. For that matter, the store I went to also had the Michter's 10 for $50 which I'd also like to try.

It's a bit*h when you stumble upon a jackpot and don't have the money to snag all the stock that's on the shelf. I did grab one of the Pappy 15's for $37 (leaving three others behind), as well as a bottle of Redbreast Irish Whiskey and a bottle of Glenmorangie Port Wood. But then I tossed and turned all last night thinking that I could have gotten the latter two at another time and stocked up on the Pappy 15. (They also had "Lot B" for $33 and Pappy 20 for $78, but I prefer the Pappy 15 for the $4 extra over the "Lot B" and I can get TWO bottles of Pappy 15 for the cost of one Pappy 20, so I don't see a Pappy 20 in my future.) I know that "Virus of Life" suggested that I bust out the ol' credit card and pounce on all those Pappys, but my wife already thinks my stockpile and bourbon acquisitions are "insane," "excessive," "compulsive," etc., so short of resorting to some kind of subterfuge I think I'll have to just get one at a time and hope they last a few more weeks. Unfortunately, the store is quite far from my house but definitely worth the drive time and gas.

Slob
01-13-2009, 11:46
2009-Fleischmann's Barrel Proof Rye
This intrigues me. Even if they didn't use the Fleischmann's name on it. I had this once and though it didn't impress me, I remember thinking that I wished it was a higher proof.

barturtle
01-13-2009, 13:54
Yeah, but was I right on the 2009 releases?

My crystal ball is out for repair and my soothsayer is on vacation...:lol:

shoshani
01-14-2009, 11:43
Handy says on its bottle that it is six years old, at least the 2008 release does. So it's really a high-octane expression of Baby Saz.

It's my favorite whiskey ever. I cannot find enough good things to say about it. Currently one bottle open (very carefully nursed) and one bunkered.

funknik
01-14-2009, 11:58
Handy says on its bottle that it is six years old, at least the 2008 release does. So it's really a high-octane expression of Baby Saz.

It's my favorite whiskey ever. I cannot find enough good things to say about it. Currently one bottle open (very carefully nursed) and one bunkered.I have the same setup one open, one bunkered -- I have to prevent myself from just gobbling this whole thing down!

jburrow
01-24-2009, 23:49
Rughi, after reading you denote two distinct iterations of the Sazerac 18, I've been scouring the forums for more information. Alas, here I am asking for you to provide some demystification to that statement. What distinguishes the 1st era from the 2nd?

Anyone else please feel free to chime in.

Incidentally, I'm pretty new around here, but not new to whiskey. I think this a great community and resource, and really appreciate the opportunity to participate. I am also involved with Anvil Bar & Refuge, opening soon in Houston. We look forward to pouring all of you a proper glass of whiskey in the near future!

Justin

wadewood
01-25-2009, 08:22
Rughi, after reading you denote two distinct iterations of the Sazerac 18, I've been scouring the forums for more information. Alas, here I am asking for you to provide some demystification to that statement. What distinguishes the 1st era from the 2nd?

Anyone else please feel free to chime in. Justin

Perhaps he is referring to the fact that the last 3 years of Sazerac 18 have been the same whiskey. This whiskey has been "tanked" - taken out of barrel and placed in stainless steel tank to stop further aging. So the 2006, 2007, & 2008 releases should all be identical in theory. This will continue to be the case until Buffalo Trace has some more Rye that has reached 18 years in age.

Rughi
01-25-2009, 13:01
Rughi, after reading you denote two distinct iterations of the Sazerac 18, I've been scouring the forums for more information. Alas, here I am asking for you to provide some demystification to that statement. What distinguishes the 1st era from the 2nd?
Justin

Shortly after VW's agreement with BT, they secured stocks of rye for both the VW "13" and the Saz "18" from Medley. If you go to Steve "Fussychicken's" spreadsheet and the thread he gleaned the info from (linked in my earlier post in this thread), the changes to VW rye and Saz rye happen at the same time.

Coincidentally, the EBSG just tasted the Saz "18" series last night (except for 2007). There was some discussion on whether the profile changed more with the 2004 or the 2005 releases, but what I call the "second era" bottlings are not the same thing as the 2000-2003. The later bottlings are a bit softer, more oaky-astringent and heavy-bodied to me. Still, pretty impressively consistent through the years considering that a different whiskey was introduced midway and it's all been sitting in contact with air in stainless steel tanks for several years.

I'd be interested to see Lear or Ken chime in on this one.

Roger

sotnsipper
01-25-2009, 13:09
I had a dilemma today and wondered what the rest of you would have done in my situation. I happened upon a liquor store with excellent prices on many bourbons (Pappy 15 for $37!!) and ryes. I was torn between getting the Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye (132.7 proof) and the Sazerac 18 (90 proof). Having never sampled either of them, I couldn't decide between high octane on the one hand and age on the other. The Handy Sazerac oddly had no age statement but surely must be chock full flavor at 132 proof. The Sazerac 18 is only 90 proof (pretty much as low as I like to go) but after 18 years in the barrel must have tons of extraordinary flavor as well. I loved Baby Saz, Rittenhouse BIB and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye but am dying to try these Sazeracs. Each one cost $51 and I couldn't afford both, so I ended up leaving empty handed until I could get some feedback from you folks. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


If this is any help, Whisky Magazine just named Sazerac 18 the winner and Editors Choice in the new release tasting notes(even over the Handy, FRSB, Stagg, and ER 17yr). Handy Saz did get a recommended tag. It seems that the Handy was a bit to hot and intense. Now, for the personal note, when it comes to a Rye whiskey, I like the intensity and burn. I want to know I am drinking a Rye. I guess it has to do with personal opinion. Rule of thumb, Higher proof = less water = true taste(ofcourse you can dilute to your liking while drinking). Lower proof = more water = less true taste. If that makes sense to you. Hope this helps!

2highcal
02-23-2009, 21:55
I would go for the Handy..Of course that is just me and I love the high octane

Attila
03-14-2009, 03:03
I just opened the Saz18 and have to say that, while I enjoyed it, I cannot see what all the hype is about.

At all.

Virus_Of_Life
03-14-2009, 03:11
I just opened the Saz18 and have to say that, while I enjoyed it, I cannot see what all the hype is about.

At all.
I think back in 2000 when it first came out it was something special. Since then we've got Soooo many Ryes from the same lineage, some at higher proofs, different ages, etc., that it really lost it's luster. Personally I think the Handy packs way more bang and flavor.