Interesting Wheat Whiskey with a particularly heavy barrel char.
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 so we never got there).
Close to both Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring. Home of numerous other whiskies and several line extensions/releases. Among these are the Trybox Series New Make, TryBox Series New Make Rye, both of which were new straight off the still whiskies which were fun for comparing against their aged brothers or sisters. The more or less standard releases of Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old, Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 21-Year-Old Single Barrel, Larceny Bourbon, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Fighting Cock, and Cabin Still among others. There are also the multiple vintage releases of the Evan Williams line such as the Evan Williams Vintage 2000, Evan Williams Vintage 2003, and the multiple batches of the Larceny Barrel Proof Series, and the multiple Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch releases that we have reviewed (please use our search function to look all those up please).
The Parkers Heritage Collection had been a very wide range of Parkers’ personal favorites and barrel picks over the years and releases the series includes Parkers Heritage 2009 (3rd Release) or Golden Anniversary, Parkers Heritage Number 7 Promise of Hope, Parkers Heritage Number 8 a Wheat Whiskey. Parker was a good friend and we were very sorry when he passed away in 2017, we learned a lot from him and he was always a gentleman and had a dry wit, and always had great insights. After his passing the series was continued in his honor and now this the Parkers Heritage Number 14 a Heavy Char is the latest release and continues the tradition of supporting ALS or Lou Gehrig’s
On the golden (50th) year of his employment at Heaven Hill, Parker Beam, the Master Distiller, came up with the idea of a personal blend to commemorate the event. Every year since then the whiskey community has been treated to a yearly release of something special to commemorate another anniversary with a unique whiskey. This one is rather unique compared to others in terms of mashbill – rather than a more or less straightforward bourbon recipe ( 78% corn, 32% malted barley, and 10% rye for the last release), this is an aged wheat whiskey ( 51 % wheat, 37 % Corn, 12 % Malted Barley) which puts it more in line with the Bernheim Wheat Whiskey The char level also may require some explanation for those not familiar. This is a Level 5 Char. Common practice is a Level 3 or at most Level 4 which is also known as Alligator Char because at that point, the wood resembles an alligators skin –and the barrels came from only one floor this time- the 6th floor of Rickhouse Y ( Same floor as last years Parker Heritage Release but that was a bourbon. This warehouse is located at their Bardstown aging facilities which gave them some nice temperature cycling without overdoing it. There were less than 75 barrels for this bottling so the supply is rather limited. The whiskey is 11 years old.
This bottling is non-chill-filtered which means more taste but may become a touch cloudy at cold temperatures, this is a natural occurrence and should be seen as a mark of quality rather than a defect. Chill filtering is usually done for cosmetic reasons and can filter out some natural components and flavor.
Appearance: Clear amber gold, just starting to develop a slight redshift. On Swirling it leaves a thin coating on the glass with an edge line that oh so slowly develops some tears.
First Impression: Nicely malty with a heavy caramel presence, sort of a Cinnabon sugar loaf of wheat, fruit, barrel char, vanilla, and a touch of mint, with a rich, round feel of nicely dense malt bouquet.
Taste: Malt sweetness with wheat grain caramel notes gives way to a dryness with barrel char and hints of mint and vanilla with the lingering barley sweetness pushed to the background accompanied by grain and charcoal in the finish with notes of earthy loam.
Drinks: Makes a nice Old Fashioned if a bit drier than most. Manhattan? A fairly dry and smoky one
Bottle: Bottle is similar to the earlier releases but the labeling s changes to reflect the new release. Apparently, this one sports a parchment-colored label but beyond that, we can’t comment as we did not receive a production bottle.
Cigars: A shade wrapper, Ashton, or maybe a Davidoff, probably a panatela, and nothing larger than a corona.
Final Thoughts: Interesting and well worth trying. One of the older wheat whiskies on the market and certainly one with the heaviest char. I am sure it will be hunted to extinction in short order.
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