Much like your favorite old uncle very interesting , charming, and a touch of eccentric in many interesting ways but not so odd that you avoid them but rather seek out their company.
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 such as Trybox Series New Make, TryBox Series New Make Rye, Elijah Craig 12 Year Old, Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 21 Year Old Single Barrel, Evan Williams Vintage 2000, Evan Williams Vintage 2003, Larceny Bourbon, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Fighting Cock and Cabin Still among others. Heaven Hill is a largish distillery smaller than Brown Forman or Jim Beam but a major player in the trade, that produces a number of various lines and products with a surprising number of higher quality products for very reasonable prices, but is still rather unrecognized by the general public.
The Parker Heritage series is an example of some of their lesser known but outstanding products that they release from time to time.
The Parkers Heritage Collection has been a very wide range of Parkers personal favorites over the years and releases the series includes Parkers Heritage 2009 (3rd Release) or Golden Anniversary , Parkers Heritage Number 7 Promise of Hope, this the Parkers Heritage Number 8, and the Parkers Heritage Number 9 which is a Malt Whiskey is the latest release we have reviewed.
Here are some more details on the Parker Heritage Number 8: This is the first year Heaven Hill has released a whiskey other than a bourbon for the series.
The whiskey is a non chill filtered barrel strength wheat whiskey aged for 13 years and represents the whiskey that was later to become the Bernheim Original Wheat Whisky line ( although that product is aged for 7 years rather than 13 years as in this case).The whiskey has a minimum of 51% Wheat in the mash bill ( and we will assume most of the rest of the mash bill is probably corn with some malted barley thrown in
Appearance: Clear red gold color, on swirling it leaves a medium heavy coat on the glass with legs slowly forming around the meniscus with a circle of tears or droplets
First Impression: Interesting nose to it _ it is lighter and not as sweet as a corn whiskey but has some nice aromatics to it.Oak and fruit, with ginger and leather notes
Taste: Surprisingly sweeter than I would have imagined with a apple.pear type of fruitiness with a fair dose of oak. It reminds me more of a Calvados than a bourbon, with a delicate fruity palette even at 127.4 proof.
Drinks: There are not a lot of drinks calling for a wheat whiskey, indeed we found very few and mot were just variations on classic bourbon or rye cocktails.That is certainly on approach r school of thought, another two being treat it as a Calvados or applejack type spirits or as a Cognac/brandy type spirit and experiment from there.
Frankly I enjoy it in a glass with maybe a little water or an ice cube if you must and enjoy its uniqueness and delicacy in an as unadulterated form as possible.
Bottle: Bottle is similar to the earlier releases but the labeling s changes to reflect the new release. Black and gold neckwrap with a real cork closure ( an increasingly rare thing) The short neck along with a heavy glass foot give it a distinct decanter look. Main body is slightly oval (more towards the bottom. with rounded edges give it a nice effect and shelf appeal (in the store or on your own shelf). Simple straightforward label with a slightly deckled edge has three different colors of ink with “Wheat” and “Aged 13 Years “picked out in a red brown color.” Original Batch probably refers to the fact this was the first batch of wheat whiskey made ( and the oldest stock)and Kentucky Straight refers to the aging ( over 2 years – in this case 13 years) in new charred oak barrels. The weight and heft of the bottle conveys a solid feel. Overall the design harkens to antique malt bottle in overall influence and appearance.
Cigars: A natural or Connecticut shade wrapper Ashton of a Corona size would do nicely to compliment the delicate flavors of this whiskey
Final Thoughts: While wheat is used in a number of bourbons as the second grain ( less than 51%, usually around 30% 0r thereabouts) after corn in a number of brands ( including the much sought after Pappy Van Winkle series, Weller and Makers Mark among others, it is rarely used as the primary (over 51%)
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.