Highly recommend this as a great bourbon and a great value for the money
Notes: This whiskey is produced at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown,and has a new visitors center the Bourbon Heritage Center (which sadly was about to open the week after we visited).
Close to both Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring. Home of numerous other whiskies such as Elijah Craig 12 Year-Old, Elijah Craig 18 Year-Old Single Barrel, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Fighting Cock and Cabin Still among others.This is a single barrel bourbon from ten year old barrels that are selected every year.
Appearance: Deep red / gold bronze color in the bottle, wears it’s age almost as well as its’ distiller (Parker Beam). Beautiful clear Baltic amber in the glass. A wonderful and promising color in a whiskey, as this color denotes a good amount of maturity and aging with some good interaction/respiration with the barrels it sojourned in for 10 years. If you saw this color in a single malt scotch, it would have to be a to older and about four to ten times more expensive. As lovely as the sunset in Key West and easier to experience.
First Impression: Apricots, persimmons, nutmeg , vietnamese cinnamon, vanilla, new leather, some spiciness, and a faint trace of marzipan, and on more warming: char.This is a great, full-bodied, but somehow delicate whiskey. Damn smooth stuff.
Taste: Toffee, (not caramel), corn, apricot again, vanilla , cinnamon family spices much like the bouquet. A slightly sweet start, medium mouth feel, more like a good armagnac than like a cognac (and I mean that in a positive way, armagnac can be much more complex and interesting than cognac). Nice warming going down, without the burn you would expect for the price. Lovely medium finish with a fair amount of leather, dark fruit, oak and char.
Drinks: Great in almost any drink calling for bourbon that we tried- Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and all he rest we tried were hugely improved by using this bourbon. Another point heavily in favor of this bourbon is it is cheap enough to use with, we hesitate to say abandon, but it is cheap enough to use as a house bourbon all the time – drink a little less but enjoy much more for the money.
Bottle: Bottle is the same as earlier releases but the labeling has changed. Black sealing wax with (thankfully) a good pull tab. The bulbous neck makes the bottle easy to grip when pouring and. Main body is slightly squat with rounded edges give it a nice effect and shelf appeal (in the store or on your own shelf). make the bottle easy to grip when pouring. The clear glass show off the color of the whiskey to good effect and the trimmer, narrower label with a deckled edge has the legally required labeling and the important stuff on back – barreled on date, barrel number and bottling date, and little more. The weight and heft of the bottle conveys a solid feel. Overall the design harkens to a scotch single malt bottle in overall influence and appearance.
Final Thoughts: The difference between this single barrel bourbon and a mass produced bourbon is is huge – and for only a few dollars more than what you would pay for a mediocre bourbon. While younger than the 12 year old that we used to reach for (and about the same money) the 12 year old has become a bit inconsistent of late. This is a much safer bet and highly recommended- especially for the money. It is also very approachable for a novice whiskey drinker, smooth with a lot of charm, worth giving your whiskey virginity too without a backward glance or regret.
Fast loading and easy to navigate. This one of the most comprehensive bourbon ( or any other spirit for that matter) website I have come across – and that is saying a lot! Extensive information and good pictures of how bourbon is made, the distillery, the bourbon heritage with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations of the different vintage years . Also the most extensive store of bourbon related gear and accessories in the industry.