Heaven Hill

Review: Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Bourbon

This fall, Heaven Hill is releasing a 27-year-old barrel proof bourbon. This would be the oldest bourbon I’ve tasted. That title was previously held by Orphan Barrel’s 26-year-old Old Blowhard.

The one-time release was distilled in 1989 and 1990 at the Old Heaven Hills Springs Distillery. For this bottling, 41 barrels were batched together. Thirty-six of those barrels came from the first and second floors. Maturation on lower floors of a warehouse is generally slower than barrels aging on the top floors. Temperature swings aren’t as varied on the lower floors.

The 41 barrels yielded less than 3,000 bottles. The angels took more than their fair share. After 27 years, those barrels didn’t have much whiskey in them. The proof after batching came to 94.7, or 47.35% abv.

After a few minutes of airtime, the nose is quite fragrant with hints of dark toffee, cloves,  dried fruit, and leather.  There’s a kind of dusty quality that develops, but it’s ever so slight.  On the palate, there’s an initial burst of dark chocolate-covered cherries.  Hints of slightly burned caramel, vanilla bean, and dried fruit soon develop, giving way to old oak, leather and spice – notably cloves and nutmeg.  I love the development of flavors on the palate.  The long finish is dry, with lingering notes of dried fruit and oak spice.

I’m quite surprised this bourbon isn’t over-oaked.  At 27 years old, there’s obviously a soft bed of old oak on which all other flavors play on, but the overall flavor profile is not dominated by oak. The folks at Heaven Hill certainly know how to craft an ultra-aged whiskey.   At an SRP of $399 a bottle, Heaven Hill 27-year-old bourbon isn’t a whiskey to shoot or rush through.  This old bourbon is elegant and requires your attention as you nose and taste it.  I hope to have the chance to buy a bottle when it’s released.  This is a must-have for fans of older whiskey.  9/10

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

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Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (Batch C917)

The 12-year-old cask-strength powerhouse known as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is hard to beat. It usually delivers an utterly delicious concentration of classic bourbon aromas and flavors that is almost impossible to pass up at $60 a bottle. The third and last release of 2017, batch C917, is bottled at a respectable 131 proof.

Batch B517 was an outstanding release in what is generally considered a very consistently solid line.

As I previously mentioned, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is the only EC release to carry a 12-year age statement. A couple of years ago, Small Batch’s 12-year age statement was controversially removed.  I’m not an age statement diehard, so the disappearance of that age statement didn’t bug me one bit.  I’m going off on a tangent.  Focus, Bobby.  Focus.

Back to the whiskey at hand.

The nose on Batch C917 features hints of sweet oak, molasses, grilled corn cakes and some spice.  On the palate, big, bold waves of caramels and spice cake almost overwhelm the senses.  Hints of cardamom, vanilla, and dark chocolate pop through mid-palate.  A nice, strong dose of oak, an expected note in the Elijah Craig brand, and leather hit the palate late.  The finish is long and warm, with a bittersweet note reminiscent of caramel-coated dark chocolate lingers.

Heaven Hill has another lively and fantastic bourbon release with Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch C917.  It does what a great barrel proof whiskey should do – transport you to a Kentucky rickhouse with every sip. I slightly prefer the previous batch B517 over this one.  The differences are minute.  Bad batches of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof simply don’t exist.  Recommended! 8.5/10


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

2017 Parker’s Heritage Collection Bourbon Review

Photo courtesy of Heaven Hill Distillery

Parker’s Heritage Collection (PHC), Heaven Hill Distillery’s most anticipated annual whiskey release, is already hitting shelves.  The 2017 release is an 11-year-old single barrel bourbon bottled at 122 proof.  The barrels were chosen from the late Master Distiller Parker Beam’s favorite warehouse location in Deatsville, Kentucky.  This is similar to the 10-year-old single barrel PHC release a few years ago, only with more age and a much higher proof.

Beam passed away earlier this year after a years long battle with ALS, so it is fitting that Heaven Hill honored his legacy with a whiskey Beam would have described as “just good bourbon.”  This edition, like the last few, will see $10 from every bottle sold donated to the ALS Association.

The nose on this whiskey is stunning, showing hints of dark caramel, oak spice, vanilla and dried fruit.  It’s high proof doesn’t close off the nose, so water doesn’t need to be added to fully appreciate the contained aromas.  The entry is spiced toffee and dark fruit, followed by vanilla and more spice.  Sun-baked tobacco and oak appear on the backend.  Though oakier than the aforementioned 10-year-old release, this botting is NOT overoaked.  The long, bittersweet finish features hints of burnt sugar, wood smoke, and oak spice.

It is very rare for me to describe a whiskey as flawless, but that’s how this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection bottling comes across.  Like its younger sibling from a few years back, his 11-year-old is firing on all cylinders.  I do wish this was a barrel-proof release, but 122 proof is close enough.  A beautiful bourbon at a reasonable price, this one comes highly recommended. 9/10

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