I thank whomever poured these for me, and I apologize I can’t find your online username.
My father is a bourbon fan. As such, when I visit him, I like to pick out samples. He has his with ice, as he likes bourbon and ice, and I have mine neat, with some water part way through to parse out any other flavours.
When I first did this a few months ago I grabbed a craft distillery bourbon, and he was less than a fan. Thus I decided to grab some whiskies from an established distillery.
Then that distillery royally fucked over it’s employees leading to a strike, accidents at the distillery due to scabs working, and other terrible things.
So let me make something clear here: There’s not going to be a fun little run up, or me mentioning that I prefer the taste of Heaven Hills bourbon. I am on the side of the workers. I’m happy they’ve agreed to the demands of the union but hot damn guys I have trouble recommending any of your products after you acted like douchebags.
So I’m reviewing their bourbons today. I’m not going to tell you to buy these at all because the company has shown themselves that they don’t give a shit.
Here’s their bourbons. Too bad the company tainted their legacy.
Parker’s Heritage Collection 10th Edition is a 24-year-old bottled-in-bond whiskey that, at the time of release, was the oldest bottled-in-bond bourbon in the world. At least according to the marketing.
There’s a few thoughts you have when you pick up an older bourbon: Is this going to taste like skydiving into a redwood forest with your mouth open? And how much of the sales went to the workers who put in time to make this come to me versus some executive who just decided it was fine to release this as long as the staff all lost their benefits?
We like to believe that a product was released with the express idea that it’s not going to taste like a tree got too fresh with your face, however at the end of the day the business side of the company means an older whiskey costs more, as it evaporates and takes up room.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Vintage: Spring 1991
Stated Age: 24-years-old
Colour: 5YR 3/8
Nose: Cream, cherry, coconut, mint, peanut brittle
Interesting nose. First off: No, it’s not a recreation of Evil Dead. The oak has turned to coconut and mint, and there’s a lovely milk and cherry note. Water brings out nuttiness and additional sweetness with some molasses. Very different than other bourbons I’ve had.
Taste: Butter corn on the cob, mineral, nectarine, coconut, brown sugar, mint
Big hit of corn and butter. If it wasn’t the weekend and therefore socks are a sin, they would have been knocked off.
More coconut, more brown sugar. The taste is closer to bourbon in that each flavour is distinct and powerful. That said there’s a lot more going on than a standard bourbon.
Finish: Toasted cereal, brine, macarons, bay leaf, caramel chew
Good finish on this one. Coconut keeps growing, saltiness is interesting, and the herbal note goes against a strong caramel notes.
Conclusion: Unique toasty flavours. A very well done whiskey. I can frankly say the whole package was great, start to finish, and I would be surprised if anyone was unhappy with this whiskey.
Other than the fact it was made off the stolen labour of others, that is.
So if you own this and are wondering if it’s worth opening or flipping, it really depends if you need the money. I can say I’ve tasted this and enjoyed it a lot. If I was a bigger bourbon fan perhaps it’d be a holy grail to hunt down. It tastes better than similar very old Bourbons and has a backbone of complexity that sets it above the rest.
Is it worth secondary? Debatable, but taters are gonna tate.
Parker’s Heritage Collection 5th Edition is a 10-year-old whiskey that was released at bottled-in-bond strength (but loses that designation because of the next part).
And then they decided to finish it in ex-Cognac barrels. Why? Probably because they wanted to have fun and experiment. Or it wasn’t quite working out, or they had done something in the labs that was similar, or someone got drunk and insulted a Cognac distillery and they bought the barrels to make up for it.
Whatever the reason, we ended up with a bourbon finished in Cognac barrels at a decent abv. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Stated age: 10-years-old
Cask Type: Finish in Cognac Barrels
Colour: 7.5YR 7/10
Nose: Orange blossom, purple violets, brown sugar, talcum powder
Floral. Super floral. If you’re a bourbon fan, think of the most floral rye you’ve ever had. If you’re more of a scotch fan, think of a Lowland. If you’re neither, go sniff some flowers.
My father immediately is not a fan and I end up finishing his.
Taste: Cotton candy, orange zest, dark honey, buttered corn, plantain
Sweet, more orange, and strong fatty notes (butter, plantain) with sweeter floral aspects. As a Lowland fan (and someone who sniffs the flowers [not in that way pervert]) this is exactly what I like.
I’m guessing most people expecting traditional bourbon notes may not be as enthused.
Finish: Rockets (the candy [the Canadian one]), cayenne pepper, cooked apple, saltwater taffy
More sweets, some apple notes, some brine and strong caramel/toffee aspects, and finally heat.
Conclusion: Sweet, unlike other Bourbons, not really for Bourbon fans. It’s something completely new.
I get it, “No kidding, changing the cask changed the flavour, quelle surprise TOM”, but we tend to wonder what finishes will do or if they’ll overdo it.
This is totally my wheelhouse. 100%. I hunt down ryes that are like this (samples, let’s be honest, I’m not made of money) and love old style Lowlands that work floral into something. If I was able to buy this at MSRP, I may buy it. Granted it’s made by a group that treats their people like dirt, so maybe not.
If you own this but aren’t into floral notes as much as me, I’d be heading to the auction house.
Bourbon review #277-278, Kentucky review #176-177, Whiskey Network review #2137-2138
1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #369-370