The Parker’s Heritage Collection began in 2007 as an annual fall release of premium bourbon. The brand’s namesake, Parker Beam, Master Distiller at Heaven Hill Distillery, hand selects and blends the yearly release from the enormous stock levels at Heaven Hill, America’s third largest producer of whiskey. Parker has been making bourbon since 1960 and is one of the very few Master Distillers in the world with fifty plus years of active service in the whiskey industry. His Parker’s Heritage Collection represents the very best selections possible from a very long, storied and respected career.
Today’s selection is a bit of a throwback, as I bought this in a Wisconsin liquor store years ago and have recently shared it with the SWC. Parker’s Heritage Collection Wheated Mashbill is the 4th edition in the collection and was released in 2010. A bit of background concerning origin: in 1996, Heaven Hill Distillery suffered a devastating fire that destroyed much of the production facility and a few surrounding buildings. Limping through the next few years Heaven Hill acquired the Old Fitzgerald brand of wheated bourbon along with Bernheim Distillery. Old Fitz is typically bottled and sold very young, but Parker decided to keep a portion of the aging stock and hold it for eventual release. After 10 years, this mash bill of 70% corn, 20% wheat and 10% malted barley was bottled at a barrel strength of 63.9% ABV, un-filtered and sold as a limited release of less than 4,000 bottles. Side note: the 2014 release will be a 13 year old wheated bourbon from the very first run of Old Fitz under Parker’s care.
While the ABV is high and oak aging significant, a wheated bourbon does not typically have the flavor punch of a rye. If any wheated bourbon had a chance of big flavor, however, this would definitely be it. On to it…
SWC Group Review
Nose- Fresh oak and sweet corn. With water and time, the nose explodes with warm caramel, butterscotch. Tannic cherry and blackberry. Huge.
Taste- Oaky with hazelnut and nutmeg. Thick and viscous. Dark cherry? Bit of citrus.
Finish- Long but calm. No explosion but oaky vanilla. Some confection. Gentle spice lingers.
Comments- Pretty solid wheater. Satisfying nose and taste, finish is a bit wanting. Needs water and time to bring out sweetness and a mild complexity. Can’t wait to see this year’s edition, though. I want to see what more age does for this.
SWC Rating – 82/100
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