Sipp’n Corn Tasting Notes: Heaven Hill Hat Trick—Parker’s Heritage Collection 12th Edition, Old Fitzgerald 9-year, and Heaven Hill 27-year Small Batch

Bourbon Heritage Month is right around the corner, and what better way to prepare than with three samples of highly-anticipated limited editions from Heaven Hill?
First, Heaven Hill continues to honor its late Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam while also continuing to support ALS research and patient care with the 2018 release of Parker’s Heritage Collection, now in its 12th edition.  This year Heaven Hill used bourbon aged seven to eight years on upper floors—meaning that temperature extremes may have sped along the aging process and that proof would have increased from the 125 barrel-entry proof—and then finished for four months in French orange curaçao liqueur barrels.  (When orange liqueur was gaining popularity in the 17th Century, an orange found only on the Caribbean island of Curaçao was a favorite.)
Second, Heaven Hill is releasing the second edition of it Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond decanter series inspired by a 1950’s decanter and using the type of tax strip from a bygone era before the Bottled-in-Bond regulations were relaxed.  As usual, Old Fitzgerald uses wheat as its secondary grain.  This edition was aged for nine years.
Third—and already a hot topic—is a small batch offering of jaw-dropping 27-year old bourbon.  This bottling is truly rare not just because of the extraordinary age, but because it was distilled at Heaven Hill’s old distillery in Bardstown (DSP-KY-31) before it was destroyed by fire in 1996.  The bottling consists of only 41 barrels that suffered extreme angel’s share loss over nearly three decades of aging (as expected), resulting in fewer than 3,000 bottles for the release.  Just as remarkable, this small batch was bottled at barrel proof, which was only 94.7 proof due to having been aged on low floors.  With a fancy custom box to boot, this release has all of the trappings of a true limited edition.
Parker’s Heritage Collection Tasting Notes
Bourbon:
Parker’s Heritage Collection, 12th Edition (2018) Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in orange curaçao liqueur barrels
Distillery:
Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky (distilled in Louisville and aged in Bardstown)
Age:
7-8 years (before finishing)
ABV:
55% (110 proof)
Cost:
$89.99
Appearance:
Golden brown with a glint of red.
Nose:
I’ve never smelled an orange blossom, but I imagine that it would smell exactly like this.  Sweet floral and orange zest.
Taste:
I didn’t know what to expect—other than orange—but I was very pleasantly surprised.  There’s a distinct brandy-esque sweetness under an orange backbone.  It’s unmistakably orange, but more like a milk chocolate orange cream from a fine chocolatier, with light sweet fruit and basil, giving it a refreshing quality.
Finish:
Curaçao drove the medium-length finish, which would have been outstanding if it could have shifted to dry oakiness and spice, but it didn’t get past floral sweetness.
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Decanter Tasting Notes
Bourbon:
Old Fitzgerald 2018 Limited Edition Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (2nd edition)
Distillery:
Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky (distilled in Louisville and aged in Bardstown)
Age:
9 years
ABV:
50% (100 proof)
Cost:
$89.99
Appearance:
Copper (lightest of the three samples).
Nose:
Old barn, grasses, caramel, brown sugar, fresh bread, oak, and more complexity that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I really enjoyed the aromas.
Taste:
Out of the gate with strong caramel—which hadn’t dominated the nose—balanced with the right amount of oak and vanilla, followed by a transition to pepper spice.  This bourbon checks all of the boxes for me.
Finish:
Long, with a big warm hug.
Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Tasting Notes
Bourbon:
Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery:
Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky (distilled in Bardstown pre-fire at DSP-KY-31, and aged in Bardstown)
Age:
27 years
ABV:
47.35% (94.7 proof)
Cost:
$399.00
Appearance:
Brown, of course, but somehow I’ve seen darker in younger bourbon.
Nose:
Oak, of course, but also aromas of tobacco, old leather, old library, and all of those fantastic old oak aromas.  There’s some earthiness and a prickle of black pepper.  I love the aroma of these extra-extra-aged bourbons.
Taste:
Oak, of course, but not an “oak bomb” in my experience.  I’ve had those puckering experiences, and while indisputably oaky, this is nowhere near one-dimensional.  There’s a layer of dark (really dark) chocolate and dried dark fruit followed by flavors of black pepper, clove, espresso, and rye toast to round out a dry bourbon that makes me yearn for slow sipping around a fall campfire.
Finish:
Mid-long that builds very slowly, nearly to a gear shift, and then gentle lingering.  It’s oak-driven and dry with enjoyable warmth.
Bottom Line
I’m glad to have these samples because chances are that I’ll get shut out at retail on all three.  I’d buy all three though, and given the opportunity, I’d back up the proverbial truck for the Old Fitzgerald.
As much as the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond 9-year hits all of the high points for what bourbon should be—and should therefore have wide appeal—the Parker’s Heritage Collection and the Heaven Hill 27-year are geared toward niche crowds.  The orange citrus zest flavors of Parker’s Heritage Collection might put off folks who consider themselves bourbon purists, and the prominent oak backbone of the 27-year old (not to mention the steep price) will get other folks to run out for something sweet like Larceny.  Whatever your personal preference, you’ll have at least one of these on your hunting list this fall.
Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly sent me samples
for this review, without any strings attached.
Thank you.
 

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