Parker's Heritage Collection, 27 year old, 48%

Price: $200.00 Issue: Winter 2008 Reviewer: John Hansell

Very well-balanced and mellow on the nose and palate. Sweet notes of mature dark rum, toffee, nougat, and candy corn dovetail with dried apricot, golden raisin, hot cinnamon, soft mint tea, and vanilla. Polished leather and tobacco leaves on a long, contemplative finish. This is what ultra-mature bourbon should taste like: all the depth and complexity that comes with this much aging, without all the excessive oak. The wood is there, but it never crosses the line. The next closest Heaven Hill bourbon in age is the Evan Williams 23 year old for the export market. There's no comparison. The Evan Williams 23 year old is way past its prime. This Parker's Heritage Collection has it easily beat. In fact, this Parker's shows less oak and lethargy on the finish than the 129.6 proof expression of last year's inaugural 1996 vintage Parker's Heritage Collection, a whisky less than half its age. (There were three different expressions, and I thought the other two were outstanding).

Parker Beam chose these whiskeys from the third floor of Warehouse U. Given that the whiskeys were low in the warehouse, the average summer high temperatures were 6-10 degrees cooler than the top floor; helping to slow the aging process and the oak influence.