As part of the grand opening of the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience in Bardstown, Kentucky, Heaven Hill has released a new Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to celebrate the five Shapira brothers, who admittedly “didn’t know a barrel from a box,” but nevertheless started a new distillery from scratch at the end of Prohibition. Today Heaven Hill is the largest family-owned and operated distillery in America.
The five brothers, David, Ed, Gary, George, and Mose, are all pictured on the front label of the new bourbon release, aptly named “Five Brothers.” Five Brothers is available at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience and select Kentucky retailers, so you’ll have to come to Kentucky to get this one.
Five Brothers Tasting Notes
Bourbon: Five Brothers Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Age: Unstated, but five different ages, ranging from five to nine years
Mash Bill: 78% corn; 12% malted barley; 10% rye
ABV: 45% (90 proof)
This is a classic bourbon nose if there ever was one, which covers all of the bases. It has a caramel backbone with peanut brittle and light fruit for sweetness, black pepper and baking spice, and a beautiful oak balance with a hint of tobacco.
Flavors burst, most notably with classic caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla. But there’s also a mouthwatering maple syrup aspect that tempers the rye spice and black pepper that follow, while all still riding on a backbone of oak.
Balancing oak and nuttiness with chocolate, caramel, and light fruit, the finish is predominantly sweet, which lingers as it fades.
The blending for Five Brothers is an absolute showcase of talent. Heaven Hill uses bourbon that is five, six, seven, eight, and nine years old, representing each of the five brothers. Beyond the symbolism, this creates a something unique and different from Heaven Hill’s other brands, but, at the same time, is immediately recognizable as a Heaven Hill “House Style.”
Lawsuits from the 1930’s show many of the failures of the post-Repeal rush to make a buck in the new bourbon industry. Heaven Hill is one of the greatest Repeal success stories because these five brothers started from scratch. They played by the rules, unlike the startups who tried to misappropriate heritage, and they took the risky and expensive step of relying on selling their own Bourbon. Within a decade, Heaven Hill’s gamble paid off in spades. It built new brands and started purchasing other brands with historic relevance, and today Heaven Hill produces 1,300 barrels per day with over 1.8 million barrels aging in 60 rickhouses.
The new Heaven Hill Bourbon Experience in Bardstown is a must-see attraction on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® and this Kentucky-only bourbon is a perfect way to honor the Shapira legacy.
Disclaimer: The brand managers kindly
sent me a sample for this review,
without any strings attached.