[Review] Thomas H. Handy 2012

Today I’m winding the clock back to the start of 2019. The year before, I had a few more American whiskies then I expected although not as many as I would’ve liked to review. My American whiskey of the year was the 125th Anniversary bottling of Four Roses Small Batch Cask Strength but that was out of a very limited cue of American whiskies that I was able to review. Unfortunately, some of the whiskies that I really regret on missing out on trying are a select few of bourbon’s golden children: the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. I had previously tried Thomas H. Handy in 2016 but never ended up reviewing it so tonight I got a dram of a 2012 Release and the best part was it was from a closed bottle so this is the first pour from a freshly opened 2012 release of Thomas H. Handy.

Also it also cost $19 CAD a dram. If this isn’t a Christmas miracle I don’t know what is!

This vintage of Thomas H. Handy was aged for 6 years in a #4 charred white oak barrel yielding 47 barrels at 66.2% ABV. I don’t think I’ve had a rye whiskey beat this one in terms of alcohol strength since (although Alberta Premium Cask Strength comes close!)

So let’s see if the big bad bold Kentucky rye lives up to the hype!


Age: 6 Years

Region: Kentucky

Cask Type(s): New American White Oak #4 Char

ABV: 66.2%

No. of Bottles: Not Available, final yield of 47 barrels with 30.23% of original whiskey lost due to evaporation

Maturation Time: Spring 2006/Summer 2012


  • Colour: Dark Amber
  • Nose: Dusty oak, caramel, creamy vanilla, cherry, clove, fennel, woodspice, cinnamon apple
  • Palate: Butterscotch, heavy oak tannins, warm apple tea, raisins, marzipan, honey, roasted corn
  • Finish: Long with heavy charred oak, apple jelly and marshmallows


This is a total beast and yet it doesn’t feel insanely unbalanced despite the strong oak. The light butterscotch, candied almond and marshmallow qualities really set this whiskey a head above some of the other barrel proof Kentucky ryes that I’ve enjoyed. For secondary prices I don’t think I’d buy this whiskey as it sits now but for a dram id definitely come back for a few more!


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