A Helping of Heaven Hill

This Thanksgiving, it might be a great time to look at some of Heaven Hill’s latest offerings. We’re tasting the new Parker’s Heritage Collection release, the most recent Old Fitzgerald, and the latest batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and Larceny Barrel Proof.

PARKER’S HERITAGE COLLECTION 2020 – HEAVY CHAR BOURBON

The 14th edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection plays with the barrel. Like last year’s rye whiskey release, this edition sees a bourbon that spent a decade maturing in heavily charred barrels. Heaven Hill generally uses a barrel with a char level of 3 for their whiskies, while barrels for this bourbon were charred to a level 5. It’s bottled at 120 proof. The extra charring contributes a darker character, giving us notes of maple syrup, roasted almonds, dried fruit and a touch of oak spice. The bold palate consists of a mouth coating toffee and vanilla extract. Coffee and dark chocolate-covered cherries develop soon afterwards, giving way to satisfying oak spice. The finish is long with lingering hints of toffee and barrel char.

Another winner! Heaven Hill has hit it out of the park with this year’s edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection. At an SRP of $120, this is an easy recommendation.

OLD FITZGERALD FALL 2020

This release of Heaven Hill’s wheated bourbon sees a 14-year age statement. It’s bottled-in-bond, keeping in line with the brand’s recent refresh. The subtle nose carries hints of coffee cake, cinnamon, and honey. Taste-wise, this whiskey presents itself in a sweet, yet rounded, manner. Caramel and sweet vanilla cake develop into a stewed fruit and cinnamon sugar. Some oak spice on the back of the palate keep this from getting too saccharine. The medium finish features oak and candied fruit.

The Old Fitzgerald Fall 2020 is one of the better releases as of late. It doesn’t drink like an old, stodgy 14-year-old whiskey. Instead, it’s rather sweet and playful while still maintaining an underlying complexity.

LARCENY BARREL PROOF (Batch C920)

The other wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill, Larceny shares the same mash bill as Old Fitz. This batch is proofed at 122.4. There’s no age statement but Larceny’s generally in the 6ish year range. The high proof shows in the nose, with strong hints of caramel and sweet corn with top notes of cinnamon and vanilla extract. The palate starts off a little fiery but quickly calms, revealing hints caramel corn, marzipan, and a touch of cardamon. The long, warming finish is semi-sweet with hints of vanilla icing and sweet oak.

Another solid batch that doesn’t veer from Larceny’s great flavor profile.

ELIJAH CRAIG BARREL PROOF (Batch C920)

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is easily one of my favorite whiskies. Batch C920 comes in at 132.8 proof. That means a splash of water is needed. I like high proof whiskey, but a 132 proof bourbon served neat isn’t doing your palate any favors. The nose features hints of roasted sweet corn and brown sugar. That trademark Elijah Craig oakiness is present, as is tinged orange peel. On the palate, this batch kicks things off with a blast of brown sugar. Once that initial wave subsides, we get espresso, dried fruit, and toasted oak. Delicious. The long finish is warming (as expected) with notes of sweet oak, citrus, and a touch of spearmint.

A bruiser of a whiskey! If you’ve ever tasted Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, you don’t need a review to tell you to buy it again. If you’re a newbie, don’t hesitate to reach for your wallet.

Thanks to Heaven Hill for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Filibuster Single Estate Bourbon

All the way in Maurertown, Virginia, lies the Filibuster Distillery. Until the writing of this post, I’d just heard of them but had not tried any of their whiskey. They were kind enough to remedy that.

What we have here is a single barrel straight bourbon whiskey distilled at bottled by Filibuster. This specific bottle lists a LOT of information. The whiskey geek in me is greatly appreciative.

  • Water source: Virginia limestone
  • Aged: 2 years, 5 months
  • Ingredients: Corn, Rye, Barley
  • Fermentation Duration: 72 hours
  • Source: Shenandoah HWK Farms
  • Barreled at: 120 Proof
  • Barrel No: A/18/B/1-3
  • Bottling Date: 06/13/20
  • Barrel type: 18 months Air Dried

This barrel was bottled at a cask strength of 115.1 proof. At almost two and a half years old, Filibuster wouldn’t be my typical preferred age for a bourbon. I tend to lean for something in the 7-10 year old range. But, as we know, age is just one factor in the overall character of a whiskey.

The nose is full of kettle corn, grass, black pepper and a light touch of vanilla. The grains really come through here. Taste-wise, we’re looking at a nice bed of caramel topped with pineapple, spice, and some fresh herbs. This bourbon is very friendly at proof, not at all requiring added water. The finish features sweet corn, caramel, and some spice.

Perfectly enjoyable. That’s how I’d describe this 2 year, 5 month old single barrel bourbon from Filibuster. Nobody expects a super complex bourbon at this age, so what’s left is a really pleasant whiskey. One that I’d prefer to sip than to mix. I’d love to see what these whiskies will do as they age to 5, 7, or even 10 years. Next time I visit Washington DC, I’ll be sure to make time to visit Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown. I hope my wife doesn’t mind. 😉

filibusterbourbon.com

Thanks to Filibuster Distillery for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 025

Barrell Craft Spirits has seen a great deal of expansion in the last couple of years. There’s the wonderfully received Private Releases as well as whiskeys that have undergone secondary finishing such as Dovetail and the new Armida. But it seems their bread and butter is still good ol’ straight bourbon whiskey. In my mind, blending batches of bourbon is what they do best.

Batch 025 is a 5 year old bourbon with barrels from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Their website goes into further detail in terms of batch breakdown:

13 to 15-year corn-forward bourbons and 5 to 9-year-old wheated bourbons were slowly layered in with a selection of 9-year-old high-rye bourbons.

The result is 113.4 proof cask strength bourbon that is as complex and interesting as anything Barrell Bourbon has released to date. The nose is grain-forward with hints of sweet corn with an undertone of fresh tropical fruit and maple syrup. The palate reveals a mellowness that’s not to be confused with lacking flavor. Hints of vanilla icing, fruit cocktail, and espresso form the DNA of this whiskey. A sprinkling of cinnamon and the slightest touch of oak help unify flavors here. The long finish sees lingering ripe fruit and slight minerality.

Barrell has done it again. How many times can I type that phrase? I’m not sure of the answer, but it’s refreshingly true. Always looking towards the future, Barrell Craft Spirits continues to blend and release engaging whiskies. Twenty five unique batches of bourbon in just a few years, all varying in character from “wow, that’s pretty good” to “can I just buy a couple of cases of this?”. You can rest assured, you’ll have a blast discovering Barrell Bourbon Batch 025.

barrellbourbon.com

Thanks to Barrell Craft Spirits for this production sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.