This was a limited Evan Williams Single Barrel that was barreled for the 10th anniversary of the Bourbon Heritage Center. This is a 10 year expression bottled at 55% ABV.
Nose: Blackberry jam, damp sawdust, banana runts, new leather.
Palate: Strong sawdust – mostly oak overall with spiced apple cider and cinnamon.
Finish: Dry and oaky with a bit of black cherry and leather.
Rating: 82/100 – A bit overoaked and simple.
Value for the money: These were $99 at the giftshop which is a bit pricy for what you get – especially compared to the standard EWSB at $25.
This is the first batch (and first dump) of PHC 1. The first dump is considered the best of the three by the bourbon community and as the best of all the PHC. It’s a 10 year cask strength bourbon bottled at 63.7% ABV.
Nose: Lofty rich bourbon nose with cinnamon spice, overripe bananas, tobacco, and charcoal.
Palate: Woody and hot with pipesmoke, loads of spice, black pepper. Almost like a refined George T. Stagg.
Finish: Dry and rich oak with tobacco and leather.
Rating: 95/100 – One of the best bourbons I’ve had – all the quintessential bourbon notes in a perfect balance.
Value for the money: These go for $1200+ on the secondary, and I can’t recommend it at that price. I’d pay up to $200 retail for one of these.
This is the second batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (ECBP) released by Heaven Hill. This particular batch was bottled at 68.5% ABV.
Nose: Heavy, musty oak up front – brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and a little cinnamon.
Palate: Oaky up front turning mostly sweet with brown sugar, maple, and creme brulee.
Finish: Short and mostly dry with oak. The sweeter elements fade very rapidly.
Rating: 89/100 – Reminds me a bit of George T. Stagg to a degree with less leather. I’ve noticed this bottle in particular improved a lot after being open a couple months.
Value for the money: These usually retail around $55 and are somewhat rare. I think it’s a fantastic buy at that price.
This is a gift shop release from Heaven Hill that is an 11 year old bourbon bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Very fruity and sweet – doesn’t fall in line with my typical expectation for a Heaven Hill nose. Cinnamon, french vanilla, cantaloupe, and black cherries.
Palate: Grainy up front with rich corn oils and baking spices. Becomes peppery with oak toward the back.
Finish: Dry but rich and long with cinnamon and black pepper crusted oak.
Rating: 91/100 – One of my favorite Heaven Hill expressions, and it was my favorite of the gift shop release tasting at the Bourbon Heritage Center which included this, the William Heaven Hill Cask Strength, Evan Williams 23, and Heaven Hill Select Stock.
Value for the money: This was around $125 at the giftshop which is maybe a bit high, but pretty close to fair I think.
This was the third release in the Parker’s Heritage Collection (PHC) series. It was a blend of whiskies over 5 decades to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Park Beam as master distiller. It’s bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Vanilla beans, corn mash, freshly sawn oak, and french toast.
Palate: Lots of oak and quite tannic. Not as sweet as the nose let on and a bit flat overall. Almost seems a bit oxidized.
Finish: Pepper, buttery oak, slightly bitter, fades fairly rapidly.
Rating: 80/100 – Not bad, but lacking on the palate.
Value for the money: This retailed for $150 originally and now goes for $800+. An easy pass for me at either price.
This is the fourth release from the Parker’s Heritage Collection (PHC) series. This was a 10 year wheated bourbon bottled at 63.9% ABV.
Nose: Very strong wheat up front. Turns even sweeter once you get past wheat with birthday cake, honey, vanilla, and some oak/anise.
Palate: Super sweet up front- brown sugar and wheat are dominant. Oak develops quickly and is much stronger than I’d expect for a 10 year.
Finish: Long with lots of wheat and oak with a bit of cocoa.
Rating: 94/100 – Everything you’d look for in a wheater pretty much.
Value for the money: These will run you $700+ on the secondary, and I can’t recommend it at that despite how good it is.
This is a 15 year expression from Heaven Hill that was finished in sherry casks for a few years and bottled at 48.9% ABV by Malts of Scotland.
Nose: Very rum like – sherry appears with mashed grapes, sour cherries, and smoke from an extinguished match.
Palate: Very bright and fruity up front – tastes much younger than 15 years. Again, quite rum-like with a lot of molasses notes.
Finish: Very dry and astringent with floral sherry notes throughout.
Rating: 84/100 – Sherry finished bourbon is strange for me since bourbon is already so sweet naturally.
Value for the money: This originally retailed around $100, but I’d prefer to see it around $80 to compete with Midwinter Night’s Dram.
This is the standard 12 year Elijah Craig from Heaven Hill, but it’s an older “pre-fire” bottle – meaning it predates the 1996 fire that destroyed the old Heaven Hill distillery.
Nose: Very different than modern EC12 – huge rye notes with loads of pepper seasoned oak. Very heavy rye notes compared to what I taste in modern EC12.
Palate: Weaker than nose, but still a lot of fresh rye bread with slightly bitter and earthy oak.
Finish: Rye spice with dry oak.
Rating: 84/100 – I like this a bit bitter than modern EC12 but it’s close.
Value for the money: These go for around $100+ on the secondary which is a bit high but not too bad given these pre-fire bottles are going to become rarer and rarer.
There were three big Rittenhouse ryes (21, 23, and 25) that were discontinued a few years back. This was distilled by Heaven Hill and bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Big rye with heavy floral profile and almost a bourbon like sweetness – odd in that its not as peppery/earthy as I’d expect. Buttered popcorn notes emerge after a bit.
Palate: Floral rye with sweeter oak turning to sour vanilla. Again seems to have big bourbon influence with vanilla and brown sugar notes.
Finish: Super bitter, soapy, and dominated by oak. Sadly I find the finishes on these very old ryes to be disappointing most of the time.
Rating: 85/100 – Nice strong floral notes throughout, but bad finish hampers it a bit.
Value for the money: These are selling for close to $1,000 or more on the secondary and they aren’t worth that. The world of these hyper aged ryes is an expensive one sadly. I’d pay up to $99 at retail if it were still available.
This was a Heaven Hill Gift Shop release from a year or two back. It’s a 10 year old bourbon that spent the last 2 years in a cognac cask. There have been a few releases of the HHSS, and this review is for the 69.6% ABV release.
Nose: Cinnamon and brown sugar with some red grape. Black pepper and honey atop a sweet cereal mash.
Palate: Dry, aged oak up front. Proof kicks in quickly and ramps up the heat. Nutty profile overal with a bit of an acidic edge – cognac doesn’t stand out to me distinctly.
Finish: Hot, dry oak with a bit of cinnamon
Rating: 82/100 – The cognac finish is lost a bit for me – perhaps due to the already sweet nature of bourbon. The heat is a bit overwhelming at times on this one which makes it slightly more one-dimensional.
Value for the money: This retailed for $150 originally (gift shop releases are usually criminally overpriced compared to their typical expressions). I’d be a consumer around $50-$60.