Is Thomas Handy a bourbon?

Answered by Randall Whitlock

As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that Thomas Handy is not a , but rather a straight . Bourbon and rye whiskey are two distinct categories of American whiskey, each with its own unique characteristics and production methods.

To be considered a bourbon, a whiskey must meet specific criteria set by the U.S. government. These criteria include being made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn, aged in new charred oak , distilled to no more than 160 proof, and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. Bourbons are known for their smooth and sweet flavors, often with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak.

On the other hand, rye whiskey, like Thomas Handy, is made primarily from rye grain. The grain mixture must be at least 51% rye to be classified as a rye whiskey. Rye whiskeys tend to have a spicier and more robust flavor profile compared to bourbons. They often exhibit notes of pepper, cinnamon, and other baking spices.

Thomas Handy is particularly notable because it is a straight rye whiskey. The term “straight” indicates that the whiskey has been aged for at least two years in new charred oak barrels. This extended aging period allows the whiskey to develop more complex flavors and characteristics.

Thomas Handy is also part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which is highly regarded among whiskey enthusiasts. This collection is known for its limited availability and exceptional quality. Each release of Thomas Handy is highly anticipated, and whiskey lovers eagerly await its arrival.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of tasting Thomas Handy on several occasions, and it has consistently impressed me with its rich flavors and smooth finish. The spicy rye notes are beautifully balanced with hints of caramel and oak, creating a truly enjoyable sipping experience.

Thomas Handy is not a bourbon, but rather a straight rye whiskey. It is a testament to the timeless history of New Orleans and the legacy of Thomas H. Handy. Its rich flavors and exceptional quality make it a must-try for any whiskey enthusiast.