Whisky Advocate

Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection Barrel Finished

November 7th, 2011

Parker’s Heritage Collection Barrel Finished 10 year old, 50%, $80

Heaven Hill’s first wood-finished bourbon. Finished for several months in cognac casks (reminiscent of Beam’s Distillers’ Masterpiece offering around a decade ago), which show nicely without dominating. Very silky and smooth in texture. Notes of graham cracker, dark fleshy fruit (ripe grape, blackberry brandy), light toffee, maple syrup on pancakes, and creamy vanilla. Great balance, distinctive, and perilously drinkable for 100 proof.

Advanced Whisky Advocate magazine rating: 91

16 Responses to “Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection Barrel Finished”

  1. sam k says:

    Hoping I can find one of these somewhere outside Dead Center, PA. I’ve been pleased with the Heritage Collection thus far, and just opened my Golden Anniversary this past weekend with friends and family. An outstanding effort there, and I’m intrigued by your notes on this year’s offering.

  2. Vince says:

    You are spot on with this one John! I rated it a 90. I think it is excellent. Not quite up to the other Parker releases, but interesting and of the highest quality!

  3. Bob Siddoway says:

    Any word on distribution (ie. which states) for this bourbon?

    It’s always refreshing to see another 100+ proof whiskey… especially with this high of rating.

  4. John Parker says:

    Great review, will have to buy me a bottle for this weekend, I was a big fan of the wheated one last year.

  5. Pat Baldwin says:

    Off topic but just wanted to say that WhiskyFest was awesome as usual! My first New York fest but not my last hopefully. Thanks to Joan and Dennis for the hospitality and tickets! You guys are the best! It was a pleasure to meet and talk to you for a few seconds John. Good job to all who make WhiskyFest happen. The 1975 Glenrothes was superb as were many other whisky’s as well. I love WhiskyFest!!

  6. DavidG says:

    Is this bourbon’s finishing moment? A repeat of Glenmo’s finishing movement from a decade ago, and “Laddie’s ACEing?
    Besides the older Beam Masterpiece, in recent memory there is Woodford chard finish, Angel’s Envy, the Big Bottom and this.
    are there more coming down? any guess as to why this is suddenly proliferating?
    is it just a way of masking immaturity or is something else afoot?

    • Mary says:

      I think it’s because people like “finished” whisky/whiskey & it is a different taste than the normal. These are “special” offerings so it gives distillers an opportunity to experiment w/flavor & test the market. Some are successful (like this PH) & some are not. I don’t think the short time “finishing” will mask a really bad whiskey OR improve a good one dramatically. When I tasted this, I noticed the “finish” but it wasn’t extreme & I didn’t taste bad whiskey being covered up. Not to say that some whiskey may be “finished” to mask something not so great…. IMO I would score this PH an 88/100 – it’s very good & worth buying (I did!) but it didn’t blow my taste buds to the 90’s.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        I’ve enjoyed many finished whiskeys. What’s the general objection to them again? I seem to have forgotten.

        • theBitterFig says:

          Just running through some thoughts. [1] There’s the gimmicky factor to some of it. Sometimes, finished whiskies just seem a little silly. Not much of an objection, though. [2] Related to that is probably a bit of a sense of lack-of-commitment or inauthenticity. There’s something that seems ‘more real’ about a fully-matured Sherry cask whisky than a finished one, although that clearly doesn’t mean it tastes better. [2a] Finished whiskies point out more strongly a disconnect where distillers get huffy about the concept of additives in whisky, but then add them through the process of a cask. Peated cask expressions of non-peaty whiskies seem to be the biggest offender in this way. There’s major hype about the purity of SMSW, and using a barrel to make what’s ultimately a vatted malt under a single malt label seems pretty hypocritical. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to finished whiskies. [3] Some folks don’t like overly winey whiskies, but that’s more of an issue with specific of flavor profiles than the general process. [4] Rightly or wrongly, there is a perception that some portion of finished whiskies are made by taking mediocre casks of whisky and putting a veneer of finishing on them to hide the fact that they weren’t that good to begin with. However, that’s more of an objection to *BAD* finished whiskies.

          • Red_Arremer says:

            That’s a nice even-handed explanation, BitterFig. A lot of those objections make enough sense too- Especially when wants to justify the high prices SMSW with some story about its authenticity and purity.

          • sam k says:

            I agree on the thoroughness of BitterFig’s reply in the larger sense, and understand that the explanation is not pointed directly at this whiskey, but since it’s impossible to make a fully-matured sherry cask bourbon, that particular issue is a moot point. This will be as close as you can get and still be bourbon.

            I’m also not in any fear of Parker choosing an inferior whiskey to be used in this series.

  7. Aaron says:

    Just arrived in Chicago. The most handsome packaging I have ever seen on a bourbon, hands down.

  8. Lee says:

    I’ve been through two bottles of this whisky. It is excellent.

  9. bob says:

    I did not see anything in the company write up about finished in cognac casks. Is that true or did the reviewer think it was? I have tried this wiskey and it is wonderful. I bought two more bottles to put away for the future. It makes me want to go back to earlier editions of the Parker’s Heritage.

  10. bob says:

    one last question are we discussing the Promise of Hope edition?

    • Lew Bryson says:

      Check the date, Bob; this is a review from 2011. Not the Promise of Hope release. That review will be released sometime in the next two months; watch for it.

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