Sample Mountain Week 13 is Thomas H Handy week! I finally wrapped up something in my non-bourbon life so I wanted to crack into some top shelf samples and what better to get into than some BTAC. This week I did a blind tasting of 3 samples 2011, 2014 and 2019 as well as my open 2020 bottle. I have previously reviewed the 2019 and will have a full write up on the 2020 soonish (now that I’ll have more time for hobbies again).
I did this as a sort of rambling blind tasting then sat down to write up more detailed notes on the ‘11 and ‘14.
Age: 6 years 5 months
Proof: 128.6 proof
Nose: Brown sugar and rye spice. Just the right balance
Taste: Sweet herbs, rye spice and a sticky sweetness. Great mouthfeel that’s viscous but not too oily.
Finish: Long, warm finish with herbs and spices balanced by brown sugar
Buy a bottle compared to recent releases? Maybe? It was one of the best THHs I’ve had but so is ‘20
Age: 6 years 3 months
Nose: Rich herbs, vanilla, warm spice
Taste: Rye and baking spices, sweet vanilla cream, herbal notes and a touch of oak. Good mouthfeel but not as enjoyable as the ‘11
Finish: Long and lingering but fainter than the ‘11 with rye spice, herbs and something sweet I can’t quite place.
Buy a bottle compared to recent releases? No. It’s good but just grab a ‘17, ‘18 or ‘20
Overall I felt like my priors were validated with ‘20 being a great year and ‘19 being a let down. The ‘11 was also something special but the hassle and/or cost of getting dusty BTAC is even worse than getting the current stuff so I can’t recommend trying to track one down unless you are a THH aficionado. The ‘14 was great but overshadowed by the ‘20 and ‘11 making it even less worth tracking down. As for the ‘19 if you magically stumble upon it at retail sure buy it but otherwise easy pass.
TL;DR: ‘20 and ‘11 are 🔥 ‘14 was great and ‘19 was good but not up to the standard of the other 3