A nice if not spectacular bourbon. Part of the money you spend is donated to an excellent cause. So when has NPR offered you a deal like that?
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.
On the golden (50th) year of his employment at Heaven Hill, Parker Beam, the Master Distiller, came up with this personal blend to commemorate the event. The blend itself requires some explanation – it is made from ten year old barrels which came from the top floors of Rickhouse EE at their Deatsville aging facilities which met with Parkers personal and favorite criteria for a bourbon. Being on the top floors these barrels got the real roller coaster of temperature swings for maximum respiration and aging. There were less than 100 barrels for this bottling so the supply is rather limited. 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: Deep red/bronze color in the bottle, wears it’s age almost as well as its’ distiller (Parker Beam). This color is very unusual in a bourbon (more common with scotch) as for a bourbon to acquire this color requires about 20 years or so usually. Legs form very slowly on swirling, with very long thin legs.
First Impression: Caramel, char, apricots, persimmons, nutmeg , cinnamon, vanilla, leather, nuts, some spiciness, and a somewhat piney scent, possibly from the rye?
Taste: Toffee, (not caramel), corn, apricots again, vanilla, y spices much like the bouquet. A slightly sweet start, medium mouth feel, Slightly short and mildly disappointing finish with a fair amount of oak, char, leather, dark fruit, apple molasses and vanilla, I was hoping for something that lingered a bit more, it would have gotten a higher score then.
Drinks: Great in almost any drink calling for bourbon that we tried- Manhattans were singular in subtle complexity. We also tried it in some cocktails calling for Islay single malt scotch and it worked wonderfully as a variation on a theme. But really, this whiskey is really deserving of enjoying on its one with maybe a splash of good water. Glass choice is however critical- the wrong glass will either lose a lot of subtlety or give you a charcoal like blast. I recommend experimenting with different glasses, some of which are reviewed in our barware reviews section. We particularly liked the cane tulip glass for this whiskey.
Bottle: Bottle is similar to the earlier releases but the labeling has changed to reflect the new release. Black and gold neckwrap with a real cork closure ( a 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 deckled edge has three differnt colors of ink with “Promise of Hope” printed in a distinctive metallic red.has the legally required labeling on back. The weight and heft of the bottle conveys a solid feel. Overall the design harkens to antique malt bottle in overall influence and appearance.
Other: Parker was recently diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease) and so has dedicated this bottling to the ALS Associations Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund. $20 from the sale of every bottle will be donated to this fund.
Cigars: San Cristobal Revelation or similar Nicaraguan cigars such as a Joya de Nicaragua .
Final Thoughts: A good solid bourbon, but just not up to the standard that we were expecting for a Parker Heritage Series. While quite decent and drinkable it is not as stunning as some of the past releases. That being said, part of the money is going to an excellent cause so pony up the money and buy a bottle. When was the last time you made a donation and go a bottle of whiskey as a partial reward for doing it?
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.