Author: Bobby

Hello. My name's Bobby, and I'm no whiskey expert. I'm here to share my thoughts as a novice whiskey enthusiast. So, when I try new whiskies (mostly bourbons), I'll tell you about them here.

Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

Starting this September, the 13th edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection will hit shelves. The 2019 limited edition release from Heaven Hill Distillery is a rye whiskey aged in heavily charred barrels. As with the past few Parker’s Heritage Collection releases, Heaven Hill will contribute a portion of the proceeds from each bottle to the ALS Association in honor of late Master Distiller Parker Beam.

Typically, the distillery utilizes a Level 3 char, but the barrels used in this release saw a Level 5 char. That equates to about 50 seconds more charring compared to a Level 3 char. The distillery states the intense charring allows the whiskey to penetrate deeper into each barrel stave.

The whiskey itself is made from the distillery’s standard rye mash bill and aged eight years and nine months] on the seventh floor of Rickhouse Y. Additionally, this release was bottled at 105 proof and non-chill filtered.

Let’s dig in.

The aromatic nose features a heavy helping of baking spices, including the usual suspects – cinnamon sticks, candied ginger, and cardamom. Those spices are complemented by dark caramel, vanilla bean, and oak as well as toasted rye grain. Dark and spicy, but not overly so. Taste-wise, we’re looking at more of the same. Initial waves of slightly burnt caramel intermingle with oak spice and freshly baked rye bread. Creamy vanilla custard adds weight. Slightly astringent oak tannins grip the back palate and the bittersweet and spicy medium-long finish.

Compared to the distillery’s Pikesville Rye, which is only two years younger, this Heavy Char Rye Whiskey is darker, heavier, spicier, and more oak driven. It’s also about $100 more expensive, priced at $149.99. I really dug my initial casual pour. However, I didn’t find the whiskey as complex as expected when tasted under scrutiny. While I found the heavy char experiment interesting, the resulting whiskey didn’t quite captivate me. The nose was great, but the palate seemed to be missing a bit of vibrancy that would have made all the difference in the world.

As it stands, Parker’s Heritage Collection Heavy Char Rye Whiskey is an interesting, enjoyable whiskey, but is it worth $150? I’d rather grab a pour of the very balanced Pikesville Rye. 7.5/10

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

Review: Michter’s 10-Year-Old Rye Whiskey (2019)

Photo courtesy of Blaine Strawn

This 2019 bottling of Michter’s 10-year-old rye whiskey marks the first release by the distillery’s new Master Distiller Dan McKee. The rye whiskey is one of Michter’s most anticipated bottlings, which generally gets released once a year. It certainly holds a place as one of my favorite rye whiskies.

Bottled at 46.4% ABV, or 92.8 proof, my sample bottle comes from barrel 19F965. Michter’s doesn’t disclose their mash bills, but press materials mention “a good amount of corn and malted barley” in addition to rye, which is at least 51%.

The nose includes rich aromas of maple syrup and buttered rye toast as well as a hearty dose of baking spices. On entry, the whiskey appears a little soft on spice. Instead, sweet brown sugar and vanilla coat the palate, allowing those rye notes and baking spices found on the nose to slowly blossom. In terms of spice, think pumpkin pie spice instead of an over-the-top cinnamon candy. Some candied pecan and burnt orange peel notes peak through as well. Heading into the finish, slightly astringent oak grips the palate. Not surprisingly, the medium length finish is sweet, citrusy, and a bit dry.

Michter’s 10-year-old rye never disappoints. The low barrel entry proof helps create a rich spirit, and this whiskey certainly tastes older than its age. In my opinion, it is these two traits that help Michter’s stand out. The suggested retail pricing is $160 for this whiskey, and I think it delivers big yet refined flavors for the asking price. Highly recommended. 9/10

Thanks to Michter’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Maker’s Mark Private Select (The Original Bourbon Club)

Just like the bourbon industry, The Original Bourbon Club in the New Orleans area has been rapidly expanding. Not too long ago, it was called the Mandeville Bourbon Club. Mandeville’s about 25 minutes away from New Orleans. Now, the bourbon-oriented social club has grown into different chapters in southeast Louisiana as well as Texas.

One great thing about this bourbon club is the constant stream of single barrels it offers its members. Most recently, The Original Bourbon Club took part in the Maker’s Mark Private Select program. They were kind enough to share a bottle with me.

If you’re not familiar with Maker’s Mark Private Select, read up on it here. This particular selection features the following staves:

  • 3 Baked American Pure 2
  • 3 Seared French Cuvée
  • 2 Maker’s 46
  • 2 Toasted French Spice

After a short secondary maturation with this stave selection, the bourbon was bottled at barrel proof, or 109 proof (54.5% ABV) in this case.

The robust nose features hints of caramel corn, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Orange peel adds a bit of vibrancy. The palate closely follows the nose with initial waves of caramelized sugar, burnt orange peel, and vanilla. A moderate dusting of baking spices ramp up the mid-palate just as sweet and slightly astringent oak develops. The finish is medium-long, with lingering hints of orange Starburst, oak spice, and toffee.

The folks at The Original Bourbon Club have something really nice on their hands with this bottling. This Maker’s Mark Private Select is rich and balanced. Those sweet notes are complemented by citrus and spice. It still has the Maker’s DNA, but the flavor spectrum here is deliciously widened.

This bottling is available to club members only. All the more reason to join the club. Highly recommended. 9/10

Thanks to The Original Bourbon Club for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.