Every so often, I’m reminded of my most popular review on /r/bourbon. Wait… no, it wasn’t. Looking back it mostly just the one that, 2 year ago, did alright and had people talking.
What am I blathering on about, you may ask? A Heaven Hill that was in Scotland released from Cadenheads. I declared it my best bourbon ever, and stand by that to this day, with maybe one other tying it.
Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to try this rare experiment again and again. I’ve discovered there’s a subsection of bourbons released in Europe that are more mellow, more “Scotch-like” than their new world counterparts.
That brings us to the next logical step, of course. Heaven Hill 9 North Star is another Euro bourbons, sourced from Heaven Hill after being aged the minimum amount of time in America, and then aged some time in Europe.
But that’s not all folks. See this one was finished in Hogsheads that used to contain Ardbeg, a super peated Scotch.
But how did it turn out? Since that 11, I’ve had some good whiskeys, but none quite as nice. Let’s see how this one turned out, shall we?
Number of bottles: 253
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Brine, caramel, orange, wheat, maple syrup, floral, herbal
Interesting bring and caramel at first. Some sweets, some aspects that scream Bourbon (like the herbal and wheat parts). That said, there are more flavours going on here. It’s no shrinking violet (get it, there’s floral, I’m amazing) however I’m getting more of that flow of flavours rather than just one flavour sticking out.
Taste: Ginger syrup, raspberry, brine, banana, butter
No peat. The initial reaction is this hasn’t taken on a peaty taste like other whiskeys I’ve had that were aged in ex-peated barrels. Instead, there is earth, spice, and fruit. The brine is definitely from the Ardbeg cask though.
Bigger flavours here. Nice and bold. Less of the subtle mixing of before.
Finish: Banana, caramel, peat, ginger, wood, leather
Wow that’s quite a bit of banana. The more I have, the more banana I get. If I didn’t know better I’d say before Ardbeg this was Jack Daniel’s in this cask.
Finally, get some of the peat, but you gotta hunt for it and add water and everything else. Easy to miss, but nice on the finish.
Conclusion: Another one of those European bourbons, that is for Scotch fans. However… looking back, I can see something that’ll draw in bourbon fans as well (from a bourbon no less, Quelle surprise).
So what would get me to recommend this? If you’re still on the fence between powerful, if less complex bourbons, but want to see how the other half lives with their flowing characteristics and potential for more complexity (at a detriment to the strength of said flavours) then this is a no brainer.
Also if you like a banana in your whiskey then again it’s quite nice, has complimentary flavours, and works. I’d say as someone who loves peated whiskey it doesn’t live up to that idea, but it’s certainly quite nice.
Bourbon review #251, Kentucky review #162, Whiskey review #1732