Country: USA
Region: Kentucky
Type: Rye Whiskey
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 64.4%
Score: 95 points

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye 2018 Edition. Image courtesy Buffalo Trace.If there’s a whiskey that makes the legendary George T. Stagg Bourbon look tame, it’s this one. This is the uncut, unfiltered Rye in the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, and the 2018 edition is the strongest of the five whiskies in this year’s series at 128.8 proof/64.4% ABV.

The nose is spicy, as you might expect…but there’s also a nice balance with dark chocolate, mint leaves, and honey notes. The taste starts off with a maple syrup sweetness at first – followed by the onslaught of baking spices cranked up to 11 with hints of mint and dark chocolate in the background. While the Stagg doesn’t even pretend to go for balance, this whiskey packs all the punch while remembering that a little balance never hurts. The finish is aromatic and spicy with that same subtle sweetness underneath. Outstanding! (October, 2018)