Review: William Heavenhill Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

William Heavenhill 1.jpg
11 Years; Charred Virgin Oak
75% Corn; 13% Rye; 12% Barley
Distiller Heaven Hill (Bardstown, Kentucky)

This whiskey is distilled at Heaven Hill - and it is a true small batch - a blend of 12 barrels, all aged 11 years - from some of Parker's sweet spots in the warehouse. A typical "small batch" from Heaven Hill is 40-45 barrels, so this is certainly rarer. I wouldn't have bought this, except for all the high praise at the distillery for this distillery exclusive- people loved it there. A distillery exclusive, as far as I know. Each edition of Heavenhill is different, generally expensive - and very limited. Really, in a sense, it's the rarer special release from Heaven Hill Distillery (rarer than the well known Parker's Heritage Collection) - and includes different things - cask strength cognac finished bourbons, ultra small batch, etc...

Review (2017)

  • Batch: 3rd Release (Bottled in Bond)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

The nose is rich, woody, with lots of dried fruit and maple – nutty, and bright, too. It’s different than the other bourbons coming from Heavenhill – a true bit of what a special release should be. Prune, browned butter, dried apricot, caramel sauce, oak, dill, clove, and cinnamon. That buttery richness is terrific. This to me, is just what I like a rich bourbon to be – like Parker said, maybe 10 years old is just about how I like my Heaven Hill bourbons. The palate is rich and sweet, full of vanilla, dried corn, spices, hazlenut spread – nice and creamy. The nuttiness is great, and the finish is full of oak, dried corn, creamy vanilla, stewed apricot, and candied mandarin segments. This is a bourbon, to the core – and it is fabulous.

One of the warehouse managers at Heaven Hill told me that he thought this was the best thing they’d bottled since the famed Golden Anniversary, and convinced me to get it in 2014. I don’t think I’d agree with him, but I really like this stuff.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $185.