I am a passionate person and emotional creature. According to all the team building exercises I've ever been voluntold to attend at work: I am an ISTP, type A,Wood Pecker, etc. In a nutshell: I speak before I think. I make snap decisions before I consider the outcome sometimes. I come across as aggressive instead of assertive. I'm blunt. I don't fear conflict and according to some I can dish it out but can't really take it. I can't help but wonder after reading the response, if "Mr. Distillery owner guy" falls under the same category as I do. I would opt for a big maybe on that. :) So it got me thinking and I deleted my original post as a result.
After reading the blog and the rebuttal made by the distillery owner, I think I'd like to clarify there is a HUGE difference between a BAD review and a NEGATIVE one (well for me anyway). The definition of the word bad is: Failing to reach an acceptable standard, poor or unfavorable. The definition of the word negative is: Lacking positive qualities, promoting a person or cause by criticizing or attacking the competition, unfriendly or adversarial.
The comment made by the blogger was: "Would I recommend buying one of these young whiskeys with potential. Certainly not. Yes, these whiskeys are promising, but I don't buy bottles of promise, and certainly not at $40 or $50 a pop". He did go on to recommend one new craft whiskey that he enjoyed tasting, and yes he names it. So did the owner of the distillery lose his mind because it wasn't his whiskey that the blogger recommended? Or was it that the blogger pointed out that, in his opinion, the young whiskey from his distillery had a slight flaw for his liking. Was it something BAD to write or something NEGATIVE? I'll let you be the judge...
One of the greatest things coming out of blogging and twittering for me is trading whiskies with friends. This whisky, I received from a friend back in June and it sat all summer on my whisky shelf. To the point that I forgot I had it. When I started blogging again, I went through the samples and found it and said, ok. Let's do that one. I started doing some research and quickly felt stupid for letting this sit all summer: 2011 Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey. Given to me by a good whisky "buddy' who had been to New Orleans earlier this summer. I was told by many how lucky I was to get this because it was a bottle fairly difficult to acquire. It's not available anywhere in Canada that I could find and from what my American counterparts tell me, near impossible to find there. Looking online to Europe, I find it available for about $200/bottle. THANK YOU JF PILON.
And then... we nosed/tasted it. OMG! I wish I could say I loved it, but it ended up being a dram I just couldn't enjoy. At least not neat and not even with water (and I added a lot of water). Now, I'm not overly confident in my abilities with Bourbons or Ryes but I own some and there are plenty that I enjoy. HOWEVER: This particular rye was just too much for me. It's not a bottle I would buy for my collection, butI would like to try it again, maybe on ice... If you like really high AVB's in your whiskies, you will likely enjoy this. As a "newbie" trying out new whiskies, I would not recommend you buy this unless you have tried it first (at the bar, at a friend's, etc).
It's pretty powerful stuff! And I don't doubt that fact, it's 129 proof or if you prefer 64.3% ABV. I checked all my whiskies, the highest AVB I have in my collection is Macallan Cask Strength at 59%. This is a wickedly hot whiskey that just burned and burned. I did get flavors on the nose and some in the palate but in the end I added too much water and, in my humble opinion, "ruined" the dram. :( As it stands, this whiskey is NOT for the Lassie! I'd sooner drink and enjoy regular Buffalo Trace.
The following review was done by the lovely gentleman who gave me the sample and he really liked it! But, then again Jean Francois tends to like the cask strengths. Take a peek if you like: http://www.whiskyplus.ca/thomas-h-handy/
THOMAS H. HANDY SAZERAC STRAIGHT RYE, 64.3% ABV
COLOR: Golden orange - late autumn sunset. When I coated my entire glass all the way to the rim there almost appeared to be an oily film. Viscosity is low and the legs are quite runny and skinny in nature.
NOSE: HUGE Spice, almost overwhelming. Not alcohol, SPICY! Then through the spiciness I detected wood polish (Lemon pledge?). I decided to let it sit for a little while. After it "aired", I began to go deeper and pull out a lovely butterscotch creaminess. Back to spicy like cloves or nutmeg. Once I added a bit of water, a bit more balanced as far as aromas. Rich vanilla, burnt sugar, but still spicy.
PALATE: Quite peppery, holy crap!! Almost feels like the roof of my mouth was stung. Very oily mouth feel and nice mouth watering effect. Chocolate... lots of cocoa! After I added water, it was still too peppery so I added water until I ruined it and I didn't have any sample left (I shared it with Graham). BOO!
FINISH: Massive burn, my throat down to my stomach was on fire. (as a matter of fact, it gave me heartburn). Very bitter aftertaste, almost woody in nature or maybe acetone. The burn lingered for quite some time. The only word that kept coming up for me was RAW. I'm sure I don't have a lining left in my throat... After I added water, it was so watered down I killed everything so wasn't able to really feel what the finish might be like.
So, it's rare that I don't enjoy a whisky. This one is in the category of Lassie didn't like... but as always, if given the chance I would try it again, just in a different manner.
So, again I'll let you be the judge: Based on my definitions above was this a negative review or a bad one? Let me know what you think.
Thinking and eating my on the whisky trail, I remain.