So, before I start getting angry emails, I realize that some folks might think I am an “expert,” so I am saying you should not trust me. Well, I am not a whiskey expert, only an avid drinker and blogger. Also, you should not trust me just because I have a blog, similar to the way you should not trust Jim Murray just because he writes a Whisky Bible. Take all us whiskey yappers with a grain of salt, and trust your own palate.
In Jim Murray’s 2013 edition of his Whisky Bible, he said he thought the 2012 Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye was the best whiskey in the world for the previous year. His runner-up vote went to William Larue Weller, a barrel-strength wheated bourbon also from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. This is the first year that I have actually gotten a bottle of Jim Murray’s Whisky of the Year, so I was pretty excited. I got to try three different whiskeys from Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, which was also exciting for me. For me, out of the 2012 editions of the Sazerac 18, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, and the William Larue Weller, my favorite was the Saz 18. Both the Weller and the Handy were both very good, but I thought the Sazerac 18 was the deepest and most complete whiskey. It leapt out of the glass, and different layers to its spices and sweetness. In addition, there are Scotches that I can think of that I thought could have won out over the Sazerac 18. I have not tried all the whiskeys that Jim Murray has, but I do think there were finer whiskeys released in 2012 than the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac.
My point in writing this article is not to call out Jim Murray for being wrong about the best whiskey in the world. Jim Murray has his own palate, just as I have mine, and you have yours. Therefore, if Mr. Murray thought the best whiskey in 2012 was the Thomas. H. Handy, then he is well right in his own mind with his own senses. I disagree with him on this point, just I some of y’all have disagreed with me about my favorite whiskeys. Be careful not to take blogs and whiskey reviews as the all-knowing authority on whiskey. My point is that we shouldn’t all go out and buy a bottle of something just because you hear one person (even an “expert”) tell you it’s the best whiskey in the world (if ten experts say so, it might be worth the investment). Taste the whiskey for yourself, and see what you like. There are no right or wrong answers in tasting whiskey, just how much we love the various whiskeys we have the privilege to encounter. Few things permit the indulgence of subjectivity like whiskey, so appease your own palate and let it ride!