Parker's Heritage Collection

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Parker's Heritage Collection

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:25 pm

Brenda and I are together tasting a sample bottle of the new Parker's Heritage Collection that was sent to me by Larry Kass. This is a new product that will be released in September and is the first in a series of bottlings picked by Parker Beam. I will say I like what he is selected for his first bottling. According to the letter and press release sent with the 200 ml sample bottle, there were 3 small batches of the whiskey bottled from 68 barrels. The barrels were stored in warehouse Y on the south side of the 5th floor, since 1996. The first dump had a barrel proof of 122.6 but the others may range as high as 130.9.

Here are my tasting notes on the product:

Tasted in a Glencairn glass.

Proof: 122.6

Age: About 11 years old

Color: Very rich amber red with long, slow legs.

Nose: Rich caramel/vanilla - creme brulle richness with dark fruits of dates and cherries, fine leather and sweet spices - nutmeg and alspice.

Taste: Fruity - ripe apples and dates with rich caramel and fine leather. The oak tannins are strong and hit your taste buds hard at first but mellow out in the finish.

Finish: Sweet fruit and caramel with oak tannins that end as a nice pecan dryness.

Notes: Water seems to wash out some of the flavors, particularly the fruits and caramel, but leaves the tannins. Drink it neat or with a single cube of ice.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby brendaj » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:37 pm

Here's a shot of the bottle....how cool is this??
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Unread postby angelshare » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:22 pm

THAT is cool!
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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:12 am

Nice. Do we know if the whiskey was distilled at DSP 31?

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:40 am

Gary,
Heaven Hill did not say anything about the type or origin of this bourbon. The taste profile of this product suggest a wheated bourbon made at Bernheim. The proof also suggests this fact. Parker likes to put bourbon in the barrel at 125 proof. Since this bourbon was located on the 5th floor on the south side of warehouse Y, it is not likely to have lost any proof in aging so it went into the barrel at a lower proof. This suggest to me Bernheim wheated bourbon for Old Fitzgerald that went into the barrel at 113 proof in 1996.

It is an excellent bourbon neat or with one cube of ice. I do not recommend water. On a scale of 1 to 10 for my tastes, I would say that Parker picked a 9.9 bourbon (nobodies perfect, but he came damn close). I hope the other products he picks for this collection are as good. I also hope that he does not try to replicate the same taste profile every time because he has access to many great bourbons that have different taste profiles. It will be more exciting for me to taste the different profiles, even if I don't care for a particular profile, than to have the same thing over and over.
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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:02 pm

Thanks Mike, very interesting!

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Unread postby gillmang » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:04 pm

Mike by the way, were any of the EWSB wheated recipes? I believe they were not.

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:21 pm

To my knowledge, there has never been a wheated bourbon in their Evan Williams Single Barrel. It is just my opinion that the Parker's Heritage Collection Bourbon is a wheated bourbon and I could be wrong. I think the facts as I stated point toward a wheated bourbon, but I could also see the flavor profile in a low rye recipe bourbon with a fruity yeast strain as well. There just is not the spiciness of most traditional bourbons with rye and I don't have the traditional flavors found in Heaven Hill traditional bourbons such as Evan Williams.
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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Aug 16, 2007 11:51 pm

A wheated bourbon made at Bernheim in April of 1996 would have been made under Diageo, presumably by Ed Foote. Heaven Hill received enough wheated bourbon in the sale to cover Old Fitzgerald, so they probably have Bernheim wheated bourbon made in 1996, but it wouldn't have been made by Parker and although made in 1996, it couldn't have made its way into Rickhouse Y until 1999. The press release specifically says this whiskey has been in Rickhouse Y "since 1996," which would be impossible if it is a Bernheim wheater. The barreling date of April, 1996 is seven months before the fire, when DSP-31 was still in operation.

I agree that 122.6 is a little low for a typical Heaven Hill bourbon from a high floor. Interestingly, the bottle depicted on the sell sheet (below) says 131 proof, which is more like it. I remember the first barrel they dumped for the 1992 EWSB, also from Y, was a whopping 145 proof.

Of course, it may be that, in planning to do a cask strength bottling, they deliberately looked for barrels in the 125-130 range, similar to Booker's, rather than a hazmat 145 like Stagg.

Tasting it, I would say it's hard to tell. Though only 11, it tastes older, and sometimes in older bourbons the wood notes overpower the grain notes to the point where it's hard to tell a wheater from a rye-recipe whiskey. On the other hand, my taster's not at full strength tonight, because I'm rather full of rum, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

So, from tasting it, I can't really say, but logically it seems unlikely that the first whiskey Parker puts his name on would be one he didn't make.

On a different point, I think HH's deal with Beam Global on using Parker's name says they can't use the name "Beam" in any product name. It may even be that the name can't appear anywhere on the bottle. The mock-up of the sell sheet doesn't show the back, but Parker's surname appears nowhere on the front.

Before Beam and HH worked things out, HH was so afraid to use Parker's surname that they referred to their master distiller in promotion materials as "Mr. Parker."
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Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Aug 17, 2007 12:11 pm

Chuck,
You do bring up some interesting points. Some other things to be considered are that the press release does not say he made all of the bourbons to be selected, and wisely so because I am sure there are going to be some releases that were made by Craig Beam. It also opens the door to bourbons that came with the distillery purchase or bourbon that came with brand sales. I know that when UD sold the Brands to Heaven Hill in 1994, they supplied some bourbon to support the brands, including wheated bourbon for Cabin Still. It is possible that something along these lines could have put some new make wheated in Heaven Hill's warehouses in 1996. U.D. was selling a lot of brands about that time.

The point I got out of the press release that came with my bottle is that Parker is picking great barrels of bourbon of all styles to make available for sale to the public. I would say that no matter where the bourbon came from, Parker has picked a great barrel for this release. He has a great talent for hand picking barrels and I look forward to the general release of these products.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby bunghole » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:04 pm

"No Commercial Value." :lol:

Very cool, Mike. That's a Keeper. Be sure to get Parker to sign it when you take it back for a refill. :wink:

:arrow: ima :smilebox:
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:59 am

I did a side by side with Parkers and William LaRue Weller 2005. The whiskey was very close in flavor profile convincing me that the Parker's sample sent was a bernheim distilled wheated bourbon. It also impressed the hell out of me for several reasons. The first is that it is a damn good bourbon that Heaven Hill is putting into the bottle. The second thing is that I always respected Parker, but the fact that he put good bourbon in front of personal promotion increased the amount of respect ten fold. I mean, Parker could have simply picked some of the best whiskey he had ever made and produced a great product, but the fact that he has the self confidence to put his name on a wheated bourbon from Bernheim distillery is just too cool. The last thing that inpressed me was that the difference between the unfiltered William LaRue Weller and Parker's was apparent, and since they never meantion filtering, I assume Parker's is chill filtered, so you would expect a difference in flavor profile. Personally, I think the Parker's was just as good, if not better than the William LaRue Weller and that was impressive. Sometimes chill filtering is the best thing to do to a whiskey.

Ed Foote may have distilled this whiskey, but it was Parker that aged it properly and made it the product that it is. You can not take bad whiskey and make it better in aging, but you can take good whiskey and ruin it in aging. The fact that Parker aged that whiskey for 11 years or more and that about 75% of the flavor comes from aging, makes that whiskey more Parker's whiskey than Ed Foote's whiskey. Ed may be the biological father of the bourbon, but Parker raised it to maturity and made it what it is today.
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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:38 am

I think I'd be able to tell if it was wheated. Don't know if I'll have the chance. :) Mike, what you doing for lunch or dinner on Thursday during KBF week? Can you join me (my shout) in Bardstown?

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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:57 am

Gary,
I am not sure what all I am doing that week, but Thursday is the day that I was going to get some people into the U d Archive and I did promise MikeK and ArtL a tour of Shively's distillerys in the morning before they go to Four Roses. I doubt I will go to Bardstown before Friday's Hall of Fame event.

If you want to come up to Louisville, I would be happy to include you on the archive tour and we could grab something to eat later.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:20 pm

Hi Mike:

Thanks, but I wanted to avoid getting in late on Thursday (where I am booked at a B&B - Gables, you met me there once).

What about Friday for lunch in Bardstown? I have a committment Friday night with the SB group.

Or I'd suggest Saturday for an early dinner.

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