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View Full Version : Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye: 2008 or 2009?



ErichPryde
03-18-2010, 08:42
I am a really, really big fan of ryed bourbons and rye whiskeys. Thomas Handy and VWFRR are some of my favorite pours.

I had almost forgotten how much I loved Thomas Handy, as I haven't had a bottle open for 6 months or so. I cracked a 2008, and my god. It's as gritty and intense as a well done horror film, and a I love it.

My mother-in-law is coming to visit this saturday, and she lives near a place that has a bunch of BTACs- specifically the (for whatever reason) unloved Thomas Handy. I bought a good number of bottles there before I moved, but I couldn't clean them out!

Last time I was there, they had 2 bottles of the 2008 left, and 3 bottles of the 2009. Judging from the movement (I was the only buyer- they started with 2 cases of handy in 2008 and I bought the four bottles that DID sell), they probably have approximately the same inventory.

I've never tried the 2009. If I were to call my mother-in-law and ask her to grab me an extra bottle, should I try the 2009, or stick with the 2008? The 2008 ranks in my favorite whiskeys of forever- The nose is armageddon (and there's something in there that reminds me of abunadh, actually), and there's something in the taste that reminds me of early spring nights with a cheap sci-fi book in my arms (Warhammer 40k, unfortunately. but damn did one of those space wolves novels come flying back to me when I cracked this bottle! Plus, the Cain: Hero of the Imperium novels are absolutely hysterical and completely worth reading).

From you guys that have tried both 08 and 09- stick with the 8, or try the 9? Also, all of you guys who LIKE rye, and have tried 09- what say you? I like my Handy as much as I like my Stagg... but I'd have more trouble living without a bottle of Handy, I think.

SMOWK
03-18-2010, 14:36
I've only tried the 2009 Handy, nothing prior. I must say, it is one of my favorites as well. I bought 2 bottles of the Handy, and after opening one, I bought 4 more, ending up with a total of 2 cases. That should give you an idea of how much I like it!

I've since only opened another, so I still have 4 in the bunker.

Since you already have the 2008, I would say go for the 2009. Or, is a trade in order? I have no idea where to get a 2008, but I'm within arms reach of 4 2009s.

SMOWK


I am a really, really big fan of ryed bourbons and rye whiskeys. Thomas Handy and VWFRR are some of my favorite pours.

I had almost forgotten how much I loved Thomas Handy, as I haven't had a bottle open for 6 months or so. I cracked a 2008, and my god. It's as gritty and intense as a well done horror film, and a I love it.

My mother-in-law is coming to visit this saturday, and she lives near a place that has a bunch of BTACs- specifically the (for whatever reason) unloved Thomas Handy. I bought a good number of bottles there before I moved, but I couldn't clean them out!

Last time I was there, they had 2 bottles of the 2008 left, and 3 bottles of the 2009. Judging from the movement (I was the only buyer- they started with 2 cases of handy in 2008 and I bought the four bottles that DID sell), they probably have approximately the same inventory.

I've never tried the 2009. If I were to call my mother-in-law and ask her to grab me an extra bottle, should I try the 2009, or stick with the 2008? The 2008 ranks in my favorite whiskeys of forever- The nose is armageddon (and there's something in there that reminds me of abunadh, actually), and there's something in the taste that reminds me of early spring nights with a cheap sci-fi book in my arms (Warhammer 40k, unfortunately. but damn did one of those space wolves novels come flying back to me when I cracked this bottle! Plus, the Cain: Hero of the Imperium novels are absolutely hysterical and completely worth reading).

From you guys that have tried both 08 and 09- stick with the 8, or try the 9? Also, all of you guys who LIKE rye, and have tried 09- what say you? I like my Handy as much as I like my Stagg... but I'd have more trouble living without a bottle of Handy, I think.

MrAtomic
03-18-2010, 15:02
Well,

If it were me, I'd go for the 2008, just for the sake of variety and curiosity.

That said, I've tried all but one of the Handy ryes and don't find a world of difference between any of them. The common threads are: a lot of spice (I pick up plenty of nutmeg), significantly less wood than the older ryes I've tasted, a lot of punch, and maybe some citrus (I don't have a bottle open at the moment, but am pretty sure I remember tasting a bit of orange or lemon).

I've enjoyed them all, and buy whatever I can find, regardless of the year.

To put it another way, I don't remember the Handy ryes to be as variable as say, the BTAC Wellers. I found the 2005 Weller very hot, too woody, and not sweet. The 2006 was much more to my taste, and the 2009 is among my favorite bourbons (I've not had the 2007 or 2008). But off the top of my head, I couldn't pick one Handy that's head and shoulders above the others.

funknik
03-18-2010, 15:16
I prefer the 2008 Handy to the 2009, but both are good . . .

JamesW
03-20-2010, 05:41
I prefer the 2008 Handy to the 2009, but both are good . . .

Same here, i put the 2008 slightly ahead. I still have 1 2008 bunkered and 2 2009's. Not a huge difference though.

The Boozer
03-21-2010, 10:21
Same here, i put the 2008 slightly ahead. I still have 1 2008 bunkered and 2 2009's. Not a huge difference though.


Make that 3 that like 08' over 09', but again, only very slightly. Have 3 of each year bunkered.
Seems that this is the one BTAC that still remains on the shelves, that along with the ER 17 yr.

JamesW
03-21-2010, 18:06
Seems that this is the one BTAC that still remains on the shelves, that along with the ER 17 yr.

Yes, I recently saw 6 of each on the shelf the other day. I think the Handy is the one most overlooked and a better value than the ER17 IMO. However the price they were asking ($65) was well above what I paid for it this fall ($52).

bonneamie
03-21-2010, 19:14
have her bring you both.

The Boozer
03-21-2010, 21:06
Yes, I recently saw 6 of each on the shelf the other day. I think the Handy is the one most overlooked and a better value than the ER17 IMO. However the price they were asking ($65) was well above what I paid for it this fall ($52).

JamesW. Love the Handy, never bought the ER 17. Its $65 (and up) for all of the BTAC in MI - that's the going price and prefer Handy, GTS & WLW over the other two. Did buy 1 bottle of the Saz 18 just to compare with the Handy. Like to hear others opinion on the Saz and the Handy.

ErichPryde
03-21-2010, 21:21
JamesW. Love the Handy, never bought the ER 17. Its $65 (and up) for all of the BTAC in MI - that's the going price and prefer Handy, GTS & WLW over the other two. Did buy 1 bottle of the Saz 18 just to compare with the Handy. Like to hear others opinion on the Saz and the Handy.


The Saz 18 was the first member of the BTAC I tried. Perhaps that's what started my rye craze. I loved the 2008, and the 2009 has gotten a lot better since it has opened up. I find it a significantly more subtle pour to the Handy... both are good. Depends upon what I prefer I guess.

The ER17 is a steal if you can find it for 45 or less- A place near me had 08s for 40 apiece, and I was lovin' it at that price. However, 65 is steep....

dean_martin
03-22-2010, 08:49
Pardon my ignorance, but is there any info on the Handy label/bottle that says what year it is?

Rughi
03-22-2010, 09:57
Pardon my ignorance, but is there any info on the Handy label/bottle that says what year it is?

BT doesn't put that on the label, but your friends at SB.com diligently archive (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11718&highlight=handy) that information for your use.

Roger

smokinjoe
03-22-2010, 10:09
Pardon my ignorance, but is there any info on the Handy label/bottle that says what year it is?

Only the proof will tell you:

2006 = 132.7
2007 = 134.8
2008 = 127.5
2009 = 129

dean_martin
03-22-2010, 22:31
BT doesn't put that on the label, but your friends at SB.com diligently archive (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11718&highlight=handy) that information for your use.

Roger

ah, yes. thank you (and my friends at SB.com). That's a lot to remember when I'm all glassy-eyed in the liquor store. It's time to make note cards.

dean_martin
03-22-2010, 22:35
Only the proof will tell you:

2006 = 132.7
2007 = 134.8
2008 = 127.5
2009 = 129

I checked my only bottle of Handy tonight. It's an '07. Found a stash of 5 or 6 bottles at one of my usual haunts over the weekend. They were either '08 or '09. (Proof was in the 120s.) I'll be armed with the right info when I go back.

mgilbertva
03-23-2010, 17:44
I have not had the '09 yet, although I have a bottle. I've tried the '06 and '08. The former was more of a bourbon-like rye, but powerful and a huge finish. Lots of leather and molasses. The '08, on the other hand, was clearly not a bourbon. It was more unique, with lots of ginger, allspice, raisins and figs. Very intense and potent, like all Handys.

If you haven't already made a decision between another '08 and the '09, I always choose the one I haven't had because I like variety and trying new things so much.

smokinjoe
03-24-2010, 18:37
I checked my only bottle of Handy tonight. It's an '07. Found a stash of 5 or 6 bottles at one of my usual haunts over the weekend. They were either '08 or '09. (Proof was in the 120s.) I'll be armed with the right info when I go back.

I don't think you can go wrong with any year. I have found each of them to be thoroughly extraordinary.
Cheers!

Luna56
03-25-2010, 10:12
I've only had the '09 and I think it is absolutely fantastic. Some of my very favorite whiskey ever. Can't go wrong!

Cheers!

timd
03-30-2010, 23:03
I've only had the '09 and I think it is absolutely fantastic. Some of my very favorite whiskey ever. Can't go wrong!

Same here - only had the '09, and it's in my Top 5 of any Whisk(e)y I've tried.

mgilbertva
04-25-2010, 18:49
I finally got around to opening a bottle of the '09, and you guys are right - outstanding! It's much more bourbon-like than the '08, which was unique in its flavor profile, a profile only a rye could produce. Not that you miss the fact that the '09 is a rye, but it's less individualistic than its predecessor. Please note, I don't mean any of that in a negative way.

Whether the '09 my favorite of all time, probably not (Doug Phillips 22yo Willett gets that honor). I loved the '06, which was a massive, towering whiskey. But I'd have to try them together to figure out which I like better. I seem to remember the '06 as being more rye-dominant than the '09 too. It was harsh however, and while the '09 is big, I think it may be more refined and elegant too.

I'm working off of memory here, though.

MJL
09-19-2010, 07:41
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a376/MJLittman/Liquor/f23c8a96.jpg

So am I correct in my understanding that this is a 2009 bottle?

OscarV
09-19-2010, 07:47
I belive the 132.7prf was the '08.

hectic1
09-19-2010, 11:22
Yes...that is a 09 bottling. The 132.7 is a 06 Oscar.

OscarV
09-19-2010, 14:39
Yes...that is a 09 bottling. The 132.7 is a 06 Oscar.
How time flys, I have that bottle and didn't realize how old it is.

Jono
09-26-2010, 19:45
Nice pipe rack! I don't smoke pipes but I have fond memories of my dad with his pipe. The T. Handy would be a nice accompaniment. What pipe tobacco would you choose with the T. Handy?

ErichPryde
09-26-2010, 20:25
Nice pipe rack! I don't smoke pipes but I have fond memories of my dad with his pipe. The T. Handy would be a nice accompaniment. What pipe tobacco would you choose with the T. Handy?

Jono, I can't speak for MJL (nice to meet a fellow pipe smoker AND handy fan!) But I think Virginia Flakes like Marlin Flake go very well with Handy.

What's yer' tobacco of choice, MJL?

CorvallisCracker
10-27-2010, 10:43
Just discovered another three bottles of the 09. That's a total of 8 languishing on OR liquor store shelves (that I know of; there may be more). Stuff just does not sell here, which may explain why we're apparently not going to get any 2010 BTAC.

OR price is $77.10. Anyone who's interested should PM me their E-Mail address.

ErichPryde
10-27-2010, 11:04
Gray areas are some of my favorites too, Scott. I haven't tried the 09 Handy in any amount of detail (just a sample), but it seems a bit more bourbonesque. I could be wrong, I'll have to track down a bottle and give it a shot!

CorvallisCracker
10-27-2010, 11:43
I'll have to track down a bottle and give it a shot!

I'll have to track down a shot to decide if I want a bottle.

I've never sampled Handy of any vintage. Cheap bastard that I am, I'm not going to pay $70+ for a six year old whiskey unless I've tried it and decide that it's worth that.

Fortunately I'll probably get a chance in February. One of the local brewpubs, Block 15 (http://block15.com/), does "Bourbon Month" every February. The owner, Nick Arzner (probably the only other person in Corvallis who likes Bourbon as much as I do), picks up a number of high end bourbons and ryes and makes them available at the beginning of the month. For one month out of the year the bar with the best selection of American straight whiskies in Oregon is right here in River City.

Last February I was able to sample PVW 20 for the first time, which I'd never had and thought would be too woody for me. It wasn't, and I eventually bought three bottles of it.

This year Nick tells me he'll have some Handy, so I expect I'll order a shot.

SMOWK
10-27-2010, 15:16
I've got a 2009 Handy open now and 3 more in the bunker. I really like the stuff. So much so, that I have a couple cases of the 2010 on the way, hopefully.