When I start to really get into a subject (i.e. craft beer, whisk(e)y, food, etc.), I can’t help but think that other people share my interests, and that whatever I am looking for will be readily available. Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case. Looking for Three Floyds, Nikka Japanese Whisky, or Jamon Iberico in Philly or South Jersey? Good luck! You’re definitely going to have some work to do.
As far as elusive (or perhaps I should say exclusive?) Bourbon goes, the Parker’s Heritage Collection by Heaven Hill Distilleries has been on my short list of whiskeys to try for quite some time. The 2010 bottling is Heaven Hill’s fourth edition of this particular whiskey, and it’s their first wheated version. I picked up a bottle of this Bourbon at Park Avenue Liquors in Manhattan this past March. Here is some additional information about this whiskey that I found on John Hansell’s blog (per his sources at Heaven Hill Distilleries):
“Parker and all of us feel that this release is significant not only because it is of course an excellent Bourbon, but also because it marks the first release of extra-aged wheated Bourbon that we produced at our Bernheim Distillery since we acquired it and began producing the wheated Old Fitzgerald line in 1999. (The Very Special Old Fitzgerald 12-year-old product that we inherited is of course still United Distillers whiskey, since it predates our acquisition.) And the decision to release it at barrel proof and non-chill filtered really makes this a special bottling. As in past releases, the new 10-year-old Wheated Bourbon edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection is being offered in very limited quantities—52 total barrels will be dumped for a national release that will only yield about 4,800 750ml bottles.
The barrels used for this release were pulled from the fourth, sixth and seventh floors of our Rickhouse A, where they have rested since the summer of 2000. Like the previous three editions, once the 1,600 three bottle cases sell out, it’s gone forever.”
Let’s see if this Bourbon was worth the wait…
- Appearance: Deep amber color. Long, thin, slow moving streaks form on the glass when you give it a swirl.
- Aroma: Brown sugar. Maple syrup. Vanilla. Dried fruit. Cinnamon.
- Taste: Starts off with brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Some mild spiciness, i.e. cinnamon and black pepper, kick in towards the middle and lead you to a long, warm, and soothing finish.
- Specs: 62.1% ABV or 124.2 Proof. Cask Strength. Non-chill filtered.
Dangerous! That’s the only way to describe this Bourbon. I did not add any water or ice to this whiskey during my analysis. If it wasn’t for the markings on the bottle, I would never guess that this was such a potent spirit. This is an exceptionally smooth and easy drinking Bourbon. Although it warms your entire mouth, you never get that harsh alcohol burn. I absolutely love this whiskey and I am very happy that I was finally able to track it down. Although it’s a good bit pricier than most Bourbons ($80 for a 750 ML bottle), keep in mind that it’s (a) bottled at cask strength, and (b) a one time only release. This is a very special whiskey and I highly recommend that you track it down while it’s still available.