Heaven Hill

Review: Larceny Barrel Proof (Batch A120)

Starting in January 2020, Heaven Hill will release the new Larceny Barrel Proof three times a year, with other batches also arriving every May and September. Just like the standard Larceny release, this barrel proof edition is aged six to eight years. The barrel proof edition of Heaven Hill’s wheated mash bill bourbon is also non-chill filtered. It joins a small market of high-proof wheated bourbons competing against Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and W. L. Weller Full Proof.

Batches will utilize the same naming convention as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. The first letter represents the batch release number for the year, followed by the month and year. In this case, A120 means this is the first batch, released in January 2020.

Batch A120 is bottled at 123.2 proof, or 61.62% abv. It starts rolling out to markets in January for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

There are hints of brown sugar, kettle corn, nutmeg, and cola on the nose. The soft, sweet approach of Larceny is apparent here, though presented in a much richer iteration. The palate first sees hints of spiced caramel, brioche, and vanilla. A bit of oak spice and slight astringency lead us to the short finish, which features a lingering barrel char and toffee note.

Larceny Barrel Proof does a nice job of transforming its approachable lower-proofed sibling into a much richer experience. The added proof points amplify the caramelized sugar quality of the whiskey. If you’re a fan of easy-drinking wheaters but are looking for a bit more oomph, place Larceny Barrel Proof in your sights. It’s an easy recommendation, especially for the $50 price tag. Just don’t expect a deep, complex bourbon.

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

Review: Heaven Hill 7-Year-Old Bottled-In-Bond

Saying goodbye to an old friend is hard. Heaven Hill 6-year-old bottled-in-bond was discontinued months ago. At it’s $15ish price tag, it was considered by many bourbon enthusiasts to be not only a steal, but THE steal.

Its replacement was to be a new $40 7-year-old bottled-in-bond. Judging by a lot of social media reaction, the new expression was the equivalent of Yoko breaking up the band (I’m listening to Abbey Road as I write this review)

The truth of the matter is that 6-year-old BIB bourbon was a Kentucky-only release, which put it out of the reach of many folks. Second, it was underpriced by today’s standards. The $39.99 asking price of the new expression isn’t nuts. It’s actually more in line with the 2019 bourbon market.

Additionally, the new expression is available in more states than its predecessor, first launching in California, Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, and Colorado. Notably missing is Kentucky. But, those large markets put the whiskey in the hands of more thirsty customers. A lot more.

So, how is it? In the words of Mr. Harrison, “Here comes the sun.”

The nose carries hints of grilled sweet corn, vanilla, caramel, and some spice. Taste-wise, initial notes of toffee and peanut brittle meet baking spice, stewed orchard fruit, and baking spice. The long finish features lingering notes of salted caramel, freshly baked brioche, and a touch of oak spice.

Heaven Hill 7-year-old bottled-in-bond is a bourbon you’ll want to add to your collection. It’s big and bold and full of flavor. Heaven Hill knows its bonded whiskey – it makes more than any other distillery. Final verdict: I Want You (She’s So Heavy). Well said, Mr. Lennon. 8.5/10

Heavenhilldistillery.com

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

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

Heavenhilldistillery.com

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