Review: Parker's Heritage Collection Promise of Hope 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

10 Years; Virgin Charred Oak
~78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Heaven Hill (Bardstown, Kentucky)

Parker’s Heritage Collection is a highly regarded bourbon which is released once a year from Heaven Hill distillery. Each year, it is produced differently, but consistently is of very high quality. in 2013, Parker Beam, who has been a master distiller at Heaven Hill for decades, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and consequently the release this year is raising money for ALS research with 20 dollars from each bottle going toward the research.

The whisky is a ten year old bourbon, a single barrel, bottled at 48% ABV. It was selected by Parker Beam and the entire release consists of 100 barrels, from Parker’s favourite warehouse spot.

Review (2013)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Caramel comes on at first, and the whisky seems to take a bit of time to open up as it is quite dense and rich. Dark chocolate, a bit of orange citrus, dried apricot, fresh oak, along with some spice, pineapple, vanilla custard, bread pudding, cream…the wood integration in the whole experience also reminds me a bit of the woody smells of an oak forest. It’s not a nose that aggressively dominates but rather is wonderfully subtle, and keeps me interested and interested…

Taste: A beautiful example of why people describe a whisky as silky. Rich, rye-tinged bourbon enters with caramel softly and then a candy-like rye takes it up a notch. There’s some orange and a tinge of sourness. Pineapple is present throughout.  It’s so smooth and thick that it almost reminds me of custard with the mouthfeel, vanilla, and caramel notes. So wonderfully light, complex, and thick at the same time. It’s just sweet enough, it’s just creamy enough, it’s just spicy enough. It’s not a bourbon where I find much movement, so to speak – the flavours more of less stay the same throughout as the bourbon. However, the quality of that which doesn’t seem to change requires all that extra time to admire while it makes its home in your mouth. Beautiful balance.

Finish: The palate dries out with some pepper and caramel, and a bit of pineapple. There’s some oak, orange, tree bark, honey, egg pastry, all the while remaining quite sweet. It makes your mouth water and long to be filled back up with the whisky….it’s oily, and slowly that breaks down and releases dried corn flavours.

What a sublime bourbon experience. For all the experimentation being done with whisky now, all the finishes, all the exploration with oak…it is really great to have a simple, excellent, single barrel bourbon which shows how well a straight bourbon can please. One of my favorite bourbons I have ever tasted.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: Average (based on $143)