Parkers Heritage 6th Edition

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Distillery/Brand: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Bottling: Parkers Heritage Collection
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 68.95%
Colour: Old Sauternes

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 24
Balance: 23

Review
Ok so here’s the deal. I love Parkers Heritage. And I’ve managed to put Editions 3,4 & 5 safely on my shelf for all to admire. I remember first purchasing the 3rd Edition wondering what I was getting into and then proceeding to get blown away.

This 2012 Sixth Edition features select barrels of 11 year old Heaven Hill rye-based Bourbons mingled with select barrels of the wheated mashbill Heaven Hill uses for the Old Fitzgerald line, also aged for 11 years.

The rye-based Bourbon was pulled from the 4th floor of Rickhouse “R” in Bardstown, while the wheated Bourbon aged on the topmost 7th floor of nearby Rickhouse “T”.

I’ve always felt mixing rye with wheat is a tricky exercise because they tend to fight or cancel each other out. But not here.

Nose: BIG. Lots and lots of vanilla and sticky sugar. The sweetness then mellows out and gives way to chocolate almonds and coffee beans which is quite delicately enveloped in a fine mist of rose water.

Palate: The experiment seems to have worked! The rye and wheat manage to stand out independently from each other. There is big oak smeared with dark berries and cocoa dust rubbed with an equally dusty cinnamon clove. The delivery belies the alcohol strength though adding a drop of water gives it a drop of caramel. Quite fantastic actually.

Finish: Very long. Very oaky. Lingering spices.

This is such a class act of balancing high strength alcohol with flavors that truly work. And for me the real joy is seeing those two grains work so well together.

Rating: 94

Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof

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Distillery/Brand: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Bottling: Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 50%
Colour: Gold

Nose: 21
Taste: 22
Finish: 21
Balance: 22

Review
I’ve always had a hard time telling one bourbon apart from another. I mean they are essentially the same flavor profiles so it can be a bit tough. But this Rittenhouse Rye is possibly one of the strangest and most unique.

I just don’t know why.

Nose: Unusually fragrant with a pulpy tropical fruit quality. Over ripe jack fruit and soft dates. All on a bed of underlying molasses. Very strange. Not sure if I like it.

Palate: The strangeness continues. Burnt sugar on pudding layered with spicy banana slices. There is that over ripe jack fruit again but this time with a touch of aniseed. Not sure if a bourbon should be tasting like this. I’m still a little confused.

Finish: Oaky dry with a date and rice pudding mix.

Now this is not terrible but it certainly does take you by surprise. Do I want my bourbons tasting like this? I don’t know. I really don’t.

Rating: 86

Evan Williams 23 Year Old

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Distillery/Brand: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Bottling: Evan Williams 23 Year old
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 53.5%
Colour: Old Gold

Nose: 24
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
I’ve realized I managed to get quite lucky during my initial purchase period as a whisky drinker. I don’t know why I chose to invest in this 23 year old class act but so glad that I did.

Nose: A lovely clove marmalade on burnt toast with a side of caramel marchiato dusted with sweet cocoa powder. One of the finest noses I have ever come across.

Palate: Strong and creamy hot. Lots of dark chocolate, raisins and plums with a hint of cherries. I remember the first time I ever tried this bourbon – it literally evaporated off my tongue onto my palate. One of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had.

Finish: Seductively long with a woody cinnamon sprinkle.

This is an absolute beaut of a drink and re-affirms my faith in this world class distillery.

Rating: 94

Elijah Craig 18 Year Old

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Distillery/Brand: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Bottling: Elijah Craig 18 Year old
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%
Colour: Burgundy

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 23
Balance: 23

Review
This exceptional bourbon from Heaven Hill Distilleries is from a single barrel (the Scotch equivalent of single cask) and has spent 18 years in one place becoming sexy. This was one of the first bourbons I had ever tasted and I was hooked!

Nose: Beautifully creamy and elegant. There’s french toast and toffee apples dipped in dark honey with a side of gorgeous vanilla infused roasted carrots.

Palate: The creaminess continues with a chocolate waffle and cherries mixture. But the balanced spices are what makes this special. Black pepper, cloves and cumin all come wonderfully together in tiny pinpricks.

Finish: Long with an oily oakiness and mild spices.

This is truly an exceptional bourbon and one of the oldest I’ve drunk. And let me tell you something. There was a fire 18 years ago at the distillery which wiped out most of the stock so don’t expect a new batch of 18 year olds coming out any time soon.

Rating: 93

Fighting Cock 6 Year Old

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Distillery/Brand: Heaven Hill Distilleries
Bottling: Fighting Cock 6 Year old
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 51.5%
Colour: Deep Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
Bottled after a full 6 years in charred white oak barrels at 103 proof, Fighting Cock has the robust, full bodied flavor that I’ve come to love in a good solid bourbon.

Maybe not the most complex of flavors but possibly the most value for money whisky out there. Also has an edge as this one has rye replacing wheat in the mashbill.

Nose: Strong. Solid. Lots of caramel mocha and chocolate chips. A second wave brings in leathery tobacco with a nice vanilla clove spiciness. Classic aromas.

Palate: It starts with a lovely woody spiced clove and then mellows out to a mild maple syrup and cardamom infused dark citrus.

Finish: Long. Oily. Spicy.

This is a solid no nonsense bourbon and at a price which should allow you an unlimited lifetime supply.

Rating: 88