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View Full Version : Yet another opinion needed.....



Painkiller
01-25-2013, 20:45
I've tried the "search" function on here to no avail, so once again I'm gonna throw this out there: I'm looking for a higher proof whiskey, and my local retailer has a couple of bottles of the Thomas Handy Rye, around 67.3%, available for $80. Never tried a flat-out rye, so would this be a worthwhile purchase? I will grab it tomorrow if you guys give me the thumbs up. I am quite anxious to try this beast.

OscarV
01-25-2013, 20:55
If you are afraid of over spending you can always add 259ml of water to that bottle of Handy and you'll have 1 litre and 9ml of 100 proof rye whiskey.
Or get a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye BIB for around 22 bucks.
Me? I like Handy, it's worth it.

Josh
01-25-2013, 21:05
I love Oscar like a brother. But I disagree. I don't think it's worth it. Buy a couple bottles of Saz Jr instead.

OscarV
01-25-2013, 21:08
Buy a couple bottles of Saz Jr instead.

Does BT have 2 rye mashbills?
In spite of the proof Saz and Handy seem different.

Smokewagon
01-25-2013, 21:19
I had a similar debate. I passed up a THH last night, just couldn't bring myself to pay that much for what seems to basically be uncut baby Saz. The bottle had been sitting on the shelf for 4 months or so, i figure if i change my mind in the next few weeks it will most likely still be there.


~SW

Painkiller
01-25-2013, 21:32
Yeah Smoke, me too. It's actually been on the shelf for some time now, which seems unusual for such a well known, high priced whiskey. That's why I was a bit hesitant to buy. Maybe not a fair gauge, but if it's that easily available, still, is there maybe a reason?

T Comp
01-25-2013, 22:12
If you are afraid of over spending you can always add 259ml of water to that bottle of Handy and you'll have 1 litre and 9ml of 100 proof rye whiskey.
Or get a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye BIB for around 22 bucks.
Me? I like Handy, it's worth it.


I love Oscar like a brother. But I disagree. I don't think it's worth it. Buy a couple bottles of Saz Jr instead.


Does BT have 2 rye mashbills?
In spite of the proof Saz and Handy seem different.

Love Handy but haven't been able to choke down an open bottle of Saz Jr in more than a year. And my little synchrony moment here tonight...had a pour of Saz Jr before reading this thread (even thought about dumping it after a few sips but then my East European genes kicked in) and then started digging through the basement boxes to open a Handy but first found and opened a Ritt BB instead.

smokinjoe
01-25-2013, 22:38
I've tried the "search" function on here to no avail, so once again I'm gonna throw this out there: I'm looking for a higher proof whiskey, and my local retailer has a couple of bottles of the Thomas Handy Rye, around 67.3%, available for $80. Never tried a flat-out rye, so would this be a worthwhile purchase? I will grab it tomorrow if you guys give me the thumbs up. I am quite anxious to try this beast.

Sheeze, this one is not even 60 days old. Many more out there....

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?18670-Thh-2012&highlight=thomas+handy

OK, the Search Function ain't perfect, but....:rolleyes:

darylld911
01-26-2013, 05:32
$80 is a bit steep, but if I was completely out of Handy and looking for it - I'd probably pay it. For my palate, Baby Saz doesn't come anywhere close. In fact, I'd trade a Saz 18yr for a Handy - just my flavor preference. That said - if you've never had a rye whiskey before, $80 might be an expensive experiment (says the guy who bought a bottle of Pappy 20 yr without ever having it, just to find I didn't think it was all that!) Can you find any Willett Family Estate Rye in your area? I've bought a 4 yr bottle, 110 proof for $35 which I thought was an amazing rye (and less than half of the Handy). For me, that lines up closer to the flavor profile of a Handy than a Baby Saz.

savagehenry
01-26-2013, 06:20
Can you find any Willett Family Estate Rye in your area? I've bought a 4 yr bottle, 110 proof for $35 which I thought was an amazing rye (and less than half of the Handy).
What he said. If you want a high proof rye Willet is a good one to start with, and if you find you don't like rye you're not going to be out $80.

sailor22
01-26-2013, 07:02
For me the Handy is worth every penny. It's one of the oomphiest Rye's on the shelf, and when the mood strikes nothing else will do. Doesn't have the mouthwashey mint that so much of the LDI sourced product has. YMMV but you need to try and decide for yourself.

petrel800
01-26-2013, 09:30
Have you tried Bookers? If you're looking for higher proof its not a bad start and pretty reasonably priced. Either that or a bottle of the Willet family reserve bourbon or rye wouldn't be a bad start at higher proof without breaking the bank.

Josh
01-26-2013, 10:01
Does BT have 2 rye mashbills?
In spite of the proof Saz and Handy seem different.

They do have two but Handy & Baby Saz have the same one. The other one is for the Taylor rye.

A couple years ago when the price of Handy went up in the mitten I did a head to head of Baby Saz vs. Handy cut down to 90 proof. I couldn't tell the difference. That was the last bottle of Handy I bought. With the price hike it was no longer a good deal. I'm an outlier on this, but I'm perfectly fine with that. One less thing for me to hunt for and more on the shelf for those who enjoy it.

Re: the Willet ryes, yes they are also barrel proof, but they are a very different style of rye from the Saz family.

Painkiller
01-26-2013, 10:14
Yeah petrel, funny you say Booker's. Have a nice unopened bottle at home, I think their 25th Anniversary. ?? (And I wonder when I will ever open it.) But a local shop has a 129 proofer sitting there for about $50. I keep thinkling about getting it, but Booker's just doesn't seem to impress too many on here. Even the guy selling it said he thinks it's overrated. I've gone through several bottles years ago, but it was always via shots !!, and shots only.That was fun! Always wondered what it would be like to be a "big boy" and just sip it. Maybe I'm missing out on something. Per chance it's time to revisit history, after all.

compliance
01-26-2013, 11:19
Handy isn't worth it. It's something that everyone will eventually have to try since it's part of the BTAC, but I think you should try to find it in a bar to test it out. I like Willet ryes better, and the price on those is more attractive. If your goal is to get a high proof whiskey regardless of it being rye or bourbon grab a Four Roses Single Barrel. There are many store bottlings of it at barrel proof around $50-$60, TPS has all the recipes available or you could find a local retailer that gets their own bottling. Avoid the Bookers too, that one is easy enough to find in a bar to try and isn't that great.

squire
01-26-2013, 12:17
Painkiller there are more practical choices out there but there is only one Handy so if you want it get it.

petrel800
01-26-2013, 15:26
Yeah petrel, funny you say Booker's. Have a nice unopened bottle at home, I think their 25th Anniversary. ?? (And I wonder when I will ever open it.) But a local shop has a 129 proofer sitting there for about $50. I keep thinkling about getting it, but Booker's just doesn't seem to impress too many on here. Even the guy selling it said he thinks it's overrated. I've gone through several bottles years ago, but it was always via shots !!, and shots only.That was fun! Always wondered what it would be like to be a "big boy" and just sip it. Maybe I'm missing out on something. Per chance it's time to revisit history, after all.

Its hit or miss, but I've had more hits than misses, if you look around, you can find airplane bottles of bookers to try if you don't want to shell for the full bottle.

ErichPryde
01-26-2013, 16:11
best bang for your buck with rye? Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond. That being said, Thomas Handy is amazing rye. I keep a bottle on hand to add a splash to the occasional sazerac cocktail or to drink when the mood hits- as others have said, nothing else compares. Sazerac Rye (or baby saz, or saz jr, &c) is my absolute LEAST favorite rye. I can't speak for every release of Thomas Handy, but the 2008 is my favorite. 127.5 proof. Later releases were more sazerac-like, and if you cut them with water, maybe they'd be the same. I can't say. But 08.... Man. Only thing better is the short run of Bowman Rye at barrel proof that the party source did.

Brisko
01-26-2013, 19:56
They do have two but Handy & Baby Saz have the same one. The other one is for the Taylor rye.

A couple years ago when the price of Handy went up in the mitten I did a head to head of Baby Saz vs. Handy cut down to 90 proof. I couldn't tell the difference. That was the last bottle of Handy I bought. With the price hike it was no longer a good deal. I'm an outlier on this, but I'm perfectly fine with that. One less thing for me to hunt for and more on the shelf for those who enjoy it.

Re: the Willet ryes, yes they are also barrel proof, but they are a very different style of rye from the Saz family.

I've had a similar experience except that I found the current Baby Saz to be better than my Handy when adjusted for proof. If memory serves this was the 2010 THH.

Look, Hanndy is great rye, no doubt about it. I thik it's ludicrous to pay $80 or $90 for 6 year old anything, barrel proof or not. But it's great rye and if you like high proof ryes there really isn't anything else to compare it to. The Willetts are great, too, but not at all like the Handy.

I'd say buy it. I certainly don't regret the bottle that I bought (at $70) but I don't expect to buy another one.

ChainWhip
01-26-2013, 20:02
Who cares what THH is like versus baby Saz at the same proof? You can't up the proof on the baby Saz to THH level - and at barrel proof, THH is delicious.

Try the THH if you can before you buy but the baby Saz / proof argument is bunk IMO.

ErichPryde
01-26-2013, 20:04
I agree that you can't get saz to the same proof level, but the argument isn't bunk. Josh's point is that if it tastes the same at 90 proof, there's nothing more special about THH than the proof and therefore it doesn't warrant the high price tag.

ChainWhip
01-26-2013, 20:55
I think the proof and concentration is a major part of what makes THH what it is. I don't know of anybody who brings THH down to babySaz proof except to experiment and declare that it is the same and therefore no better. If we want THH at babySaz proof then we should just buy the Sazerac rye. Yes, it's the same mashbill/juice but to me, it's just not the same whiskey flavor profile out of the bottle.

Meanwhile, we should accept THH for what it is and if it doesn't taste good enough for us at that price point, then no big deal :-)

CoMobourbon
01-26-2013, 21:30
Stating the stupid-but-obvious here; if you are interested mostly in the higher proof and only incidentally in the rye status, then your options and price range widen substantially. For a higher proof bourbon at a lower cost, I'll give my standard plug for Old Grand Dad 114.

Young Blacksmith
01-27-2013, 08:12
Right. There are more high proof whiskey options than just Handy at $80. Noah's Mill, OGD 114, a few scotch options, etc. Not sure what your local shops carry though. If you want to try the Handy, and feel like $80 is an OK price, then do it. But if you are just looking to try something higher than 100 proof, you have options. Heck, even OWA at 107 is decently high proof.

OscarV
01-27-2013, 09:48
I think the proof and concentration is a major part of what makes THH what it is. I don't know of anybody who brings THH down to babySaz proof except to experiment and declare that it is the same and therefore no better. If we want THH at babySaz proof then we should just buy the Sazerac rye. Yes, it's the same mashbill/juice but to me, it's just not the same whiskey flavor profile out of the bottle.

Meanwhile, we should accept THH for what it is and if it doesn't taste good enough for us at that price point, then no big deal :-)


Aw c'mon Dude, we are bourbon geeks, it's what we do.:cool:

ChainWhip
01-27-2013, 10:23
Aw c'mon Dude, we are bourbon geeks, it's what we do.:cool:

I am sufficiently chided :-)

Don't mean to step on anybody's toes... Apologies to Josh, ErichPryde, & anybody else if I did so.

darylld911
01-27-2013, 10:36
I agree that you can't get saz to the same proof level, but the argument isn't bunk. Josh's point is that if it tastes the same at 90 proof, there's nothing more special about THH than the proof and therefore it doesn't warrant the high price tag.

Agree that if when diluted to the same proof they are quite similar, it shows their comparable make-up. But also agree that this isn't a factor in evaluating the price - unless you were looking to make Baby Saz from THH and trying to figure out if that would be cheaper. I would absolutely not try Baby Saz in order to determine if I might like THH, as they two may have the same juice from the start, but a very different flavor profile out of the bottle. Unless you intend to dilute it to 90 proof . . . then compare away!

Josh
01-27-2013, 13:06
Glad to get a discussion going on the topic!

My bottle was a 2010 too, I believe.

For me, it is a factor. I don't usually drink barrel proof whiskeys at barrel proof. I add water to them, almost always. At the high proofs the BTAC barrel proofers, I can't taste anything but alcohol. Cut down to the 90s or 100s, I can taste a lot more. Plus the massive, painful heartburn that follows makes me miserable for hours. So maybe this discussion says as much about how people drink their whiskey as it does about Saz Jr & Handy.

OscarV
01-27-2013, 14:25
As far as cutting the proof down in whiskies sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Some whiskies just don't take the water well.
I don't mean a particular brand but individual barrels.
Stagg for example, some years it waters down good and "opens" it up but the 2012 didn't seem to bloom with water.

Brisko
01-28-2013, 08:23
I think the proof and concentration is a major part of what makes THH what it is. I don't know of anybody who brings THH down to babySaz proof except to experiment and declare that it is the same and therefore no better. If we want THH at babySaz proof then we should just buy the Sazerac rye. Yes, it's the same mashbill/juice but to me, it's just not the same whiskey flavor profile out of the bottle.

Meanwhile, we should accept THH for what it is and if it doesn't taste good enough for us at that price point, then no big deal :-)

I certainly don't bring Handy down to 90 proof regularly. I actually prefer it with one or two ice cubes. But that's not my point.

If THH is nothing more than Baby Saz at barrel proof, it ought to run about $50 or so, based on the way Baby Saz is priced. By pricing it where it is the unspoken implication is that it's not just uncut Baby Saz, that they're being more discriminating with barrel selection and so on. To my taste, that's not really the case.

The irony is that up until about a year ago, I could get THH more reliably than Baby Saz....

T Comp
01-28-2013, 08:45
Glad to get a discussion going on the topic!

My bottle was a 2010 too, I believe.

For me, it is a factor. I don't usually drink barrel proof whiskeys at barrel proof. I add water to them, almost always. At the high proofs the BTAC barrel proofers, I can't taste anything but alcohol. Cut down to the 90s or 100s, I can taste a lot more. Plus the massive, painful heartburn that follows makes me miserable for hours. So maybe this discussion says as much about how people drink their whiskey as it does about Saz Jr & Handy.

I'm with you on always cutting high proofs. Not as low as 90 but 100 to 107 proof. Also not the biggest health nut (or would I be here) but I do wonder if down the line there may be some damage if one is regularly drinking high proof, even in moderate amounts. I know above 107 proof, my tongue and back of throat are feeling things that don't happen below that. As to heartburn...that's why God invented man who could then invent Omeprazole :grin:.

Josh
01-28-2013, 10:15
I'm with you on always cutting high proofs. Not as low as 90 but 100 to 107 proof. Also not the biggest health nut (or would I be here) but I do wonder if down the line there may be some damage if one is regularly drinking high proof, even in moderate amounts. I know above 107 proof, my tongue and back of throat are feeling things that don't happen below that. As to heartburn...that's why God invented man who could then invent Omeprazole :grin:.

I'll talk to the doc about that one! I do take OTC reflux remedies. The heartburn is aggravated by the meds I take for my auto-immune issues, and I'm trying to avoid the never-ending rabbit hole of taking meds to deal with the symtoms of other meds.

I have read (although I can't recall where) that drinking high proof spirits can damage the lining of the esophagus.

Painkiller
01-28-2013, 20:06
Not to throw my own topic "off-topic" , but I do find myself really enjoying the higher proofs. OWA is a phenomenal, sweet bourbon. I just recently purchased Noah's Mill @114 proof. A fine sipping whisky,indeed. I try not to dilute w water. Drink it the way it's meant to be. I say "it's the thrill of the burn". Admittedly, that's what piqued my interest in the TH Rye. I figured kill 2 birds with 1 stone. A rye and a highproof. But I get where you guys are coming from. Btw, if you dilute Booker's with enough water, would you end up w Jim Beam?? :slappin:Just kidding( I think ).

squire
01-28-2013, 20:11
Yes, as a matter of fact you would, or at least a single barrel version.

ErichPryde
01-28-2013, 20:23
I am sufficiently chided :-)

Don't mean to step on anybody's toes... Apologies to Josh, ErichPryde, & anybody else if I did so.


No toe stepping done here... Josh and I have crossed keyboards and sent letters flying over this exact subject before. I think Handy is great, awesome stuff and justifies a higher price point. :)

tmckenzie
01-29-2013, 05:18
BT can say what they want to, but I think they have 2 rye mashbills. One is the mashbill they bottled up as EH Taylor rye. The other is a lighter bodied whiskey. The rye white dog they bottled is way to light to turn into anything in the barrel. I think they blend the 2 white dogs together and barrel them. The EH Taylor is what they would call a flavoring rye in Canada.

SMOWK
01-29-2013, 09:12
Handy is a great bottle, and when it's under $70 it's a no brainer. I also really like Baby Saz.

I find it hard to believe that any regular on this forum would dislike anything labeled bourbon or rye on any shelf. They're all good, that's why we're here. The only way to find out if it's worth the money is to pay up, and then ponder your buyers remorse (or remorselessness) over said whiskey.

sailor22
01-29-2013, 10:07
The only way to find out if it's worth the money is to pay up, and then ponder your buyers remorse (or remorselessness) over said whiskey.


Well said sir! ........

Josh
01-29-2013, 11:06
Handy is a great bottle, and when it's under $70 it's a no brainer. I also really like Baby Saz.

I find it hard to believe that any regular on this forum would dislike anything labeled bourbon or rye on any shelf. They're all good, that's why we're here. The only way to find out if it's worth the money is to pay up, and then ponder your buyers remorse (or remorselessness) over said whiskey.

That or find somebody with an open bottle and get a taste. Most members here are happy to oblige when asked nicely.

SMOWK
01-29-2013, 12:11
That or find somebody with an open bottle and get a taste. Most members here are happy to oblige when asked nicely.

My point was more along the lines of, "of course it's worth it when someone else is paying".

WAINWRIGHT
01-29-2013, 12:12
I find the Handy to be a great whiskey,that being said I do have a hang up of paying the full BTAC pricing for a 6yr. rye.I prefer the Saz 18,but when I have a urge for a bold in your face rye Handy always fits the bill for me,a few drops of water brings out all the floral and spiced notes and it always hits the spot!The Handy seems to hover on shelves for months after the all of releases so I pour the Handy year round which is a really nice option to have if I do say so myself.

Quantum
01-31-2013, 14:49
I agree that you can't get saz to the same proof level, but the argument isn't bunk. Josh's point is that if it tastes the same at 90 proof, there's nothing more special about THH than the proof and therefore it doesn't warrant the high price tag.

I don't care if the only difference between THH and baby saz is that Harlen Wheatley hocks a loogie in each bottle of the THH. If that is what makes it taste great, I am not going to argue over the relative value of Wheatleys spit. At times I do geek out over the details of whiskey, but when it comes to a certain point I really don't care what happened to it before it landed in my glass.

I don't dilute THH, and that flavor at that proof is something I just can't recreate outside of THH. I don't drink everything at barrel proof, but THH and Bookers are a couple that I vastly prefer at full octane. I really have nothing to add on the overall quality or value of THH, but to me it is well worth $70-$80 a bottle.

squire
01-31-2013, 16:11
In this area Handy does tend to hang around the shelves longer than the other members of the Collection, which I've always supposed was due to lesser recognition.

AaronWF
01-31-2013, 16:52
$80 is too much. I'm a big fan of Handy (at least of the years I've tasted - '09 & '10), but I'd pass by most days at $65. $60 and I'm likely in, though I scored three bottles of the '10 for $50 each last summer, so...

That said, my first bottle was very educational for me as far as showing me what a CS high-corn rye whiskey tastes like. Handy does not have much competition in that category...

ErichPryde
01-31-2013, 16:54
Well if THAT'S the case, Sky, what are we drinking tonight...? ;)

thezenone
02-01-2013, 12:17
On it's own the THH wins hands down. I think the Baby Saz is fantastic in cocktails though. I've yet to find a better whiskey to make an Old Fashioned, and that includes the THH. It's so sporadic to find here in CA that I use it exclusively for this purpose.

SMOWK
02-01-2013, 14:07
Well if THAT'S the case, Sky, what are we drinking tonight...? ;)

OGD114, OWA SB, and if you're nice to me we'll open a 2012 Handy.

JLH3
02-09-2013, 10:29
I haven't tried the Baby Saz yet, but I'll buy many more bottles of Willett before I pay for another bottle of Handy. And you can find lots of them around here. Rittenhouse is good, but I do love the Willett.