Pay more, get less, but collectible I guess? If you want to collect them all or want to show off a limited availability bottle go ahead, otherwise pass on this one.
Notes: Another ( the latest) completely new release/incarnation of bourbon from Heaven Hill. Bottled under the name “Five Brothers Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey” which refers to, well a number of things, first and foremost it refers to the five Shapira brothers who started the distillery in 1935 ( two years after Prohibition was finally repealed) and also a bit about the bourbon itself. The bourbon is a small batch blend of 5 different bourbons of different ages, the ages ranging from 5 to 9 years old to represent each founding brother. Like the Square 6 Bourbon, it is available at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Mashbill is standard Heaven Hill recipe – 7 8% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley proof harks back to 1935 also when the proof was 90 – lighter than most of their other releases but not by much but lately been seeing a lot of barrel proof releases.
As I have said before, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a bit of a stretch, descriptive, but not a legal definition per se. Bourbon, yes definitely, and there are a plethora of requirements to call it bourbon – which most people are familiar with – or at least most of them. It is not a requirement to be made in Kentucky – you can make it anywhere in the United States if you follow the laws and rules – but Kentucky is a good place to do it. We do not have an AOC for Kentucky (yet) so that part is a bit of fluff. The “straight” designation is, however, a useful legal term. Essentially an at least 2-year-old whiskey at its simplest definition.
In any case on to the review itself. This whiskey has a lot of (positive) qualifications to it and I’ll try to tackle a few of them for you.
with a mashbill of 52 percent corn, 35 percent rye, and 13 percent malted barley, this is a new recipe for the Heaven Hill Distillery portfolio.
Available in small quantities a unique offering at the Evan Willaims Bourbon Experience and at ( very) select Kentucky retailers for an MSRP of $89.99.
Appearance: A nice penny bronze in the bottle and a dark straw gold or light amber in the glass. On swirling it forms a medium oily coat on the glass edgeline with thick legs slowly descending back into the bottom of the glass clear ginger color overall
First Impression: Persimmons, fresh dates, and spices, a bit light on the nose.Notes of dried fruit, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Taste: Comes on dry then sweet for a second with rapid sweet/sour rye and crisp dryness offset by the corn smoothing things out with a slight barley finish. Midline cereal notes and drying on the tongue with a short to medium finish. A touch hot, a bit light, and overall a fairly, well unremarkable whiskey.
Drinks: With the high percentage of rye it makes for a nice almost crossover rye product for those seeking a cocktail ingredient not quite as flavor-forward, but looking for something drier and slightly youngish a bourbon with some nice structure to it. Decent in a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or a Horses Neck. But given its rarity, it should be enjoyed on its own with friends. Use the Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond for mixing more overall age, 1/2 the cost.
Bottle: A distinct departure from any of their usual bottles shapes. A squarish decanter bottle with rounded edges and sides and a somewhat short neck.Ivory colored label with some raised lettering on the front and a black and white photograph of the five brothers after which it is named. Smaller back label with a bit of history and a mention that the mashbill is the traditional Heaven Hill mashbill
Other: A little background or history of previous offerings from Heaven Hill is called for the sake of mentioning as many of them are overlooked and not nearly as well known as they should be. Heaven Hill is a distillery with a relatively long history of iconic releases even if it only dates from 1935. While some distilleries boast more history and older start dates, few have as many notable if not singular releases to their credit. With quite a few bourbons in its portfolio, a number of them dating back to the beginning of the company in their standard portfolio, they have a number of exciting new bourbons and special editions of their older lines are generating a lot of interest (and new respect) in the bourbon community. Some of the most notable of the new series are the limited editions of the Parker Heritage Series (reviews of Number 7, Number 8, and Number 9 ) the Larceny Bourbon line (an extension/expression from the Old Fitzgerald line), the barrel proof versions of Larceny ( multiple releases) and the not bourbon but still very nice Bernheim Wheat Whisky
One of the newer releases at the moment is their Old Fitzgerald 15 Year Old Bottled in Bond which is almost twice the age of this and twice the money and seems to be aimed at the people chasing older hard-to-get whiskies.
Their other bourbons include of course the Heaven Hill series/marks which include the white, green, and black labels, the Elijah Craig 12 ( IMHO one of the perennial best buys in a bourbon), and the Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old. Some other lines of bourbons they produce are the Evan Williams line and the Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage series they have released every year ( 2000 Vintage, 2003 Vintage, 2004 Vintage and the New Make Series of unaged distillate (Rye and Corn), Their 27 year old of the Heaven Hill which followed on from the previous releases of a 20-Year-Old, 21 Year Old Version and the 23 Year Old Elijah Craig Series was one of those whiskies that you will whisper about in your old age. I include these as references, possibly touchstones, for background and reference as you will probably not see their like again.
Heaven Hill is also one of the leaders in the Bottled in Bond category having the largest stocks of Bottled in Bond Inventory and the most labels so they can produce very specific flavor and age profiles in their portfolio and have some very worthy bottlings. IDIC as they say on Star Trek.
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