There have been two reviews of Parker's Heritage Collection Golden Anniversary Bourbon. Mike Veach reveiwed a sample provided to him by the distillery and I purchased a bottle for about $150+ (I just bought my second bottle). Both reviews were lavish in their praise of this bourbon.
Now, we have been through the debate about the cost of bourbon several times and no doubt those of us who have participated in that debate remain in our entrenched positions...........and each has a very defensible position since it is largely a matter of personal preference and circumstances (and no value jusdgement is at all implied.......one's circumstances are a personal matter and often not of one's choosing but were chosen by FATE with her ends in mind) as to when the cost of a bourbon is too dear.
Still, it is my humble opinion that a site that deems itself for the Bourbon Enthusiast should have a least one post devoted to an exceptional bourbon, irrespective of its price.
Given that there is a recent post on Small Batch Bourbons vs Single Barrel Bourbons, it is good to remind ourselves that this might be considered a Small Batch Bourbon in the generally understood meaning of that phrase. But, it is probably best viewed as a limited release in the same way as other distilleries have released their special 'collections'. The Master Distiller is apparently given the leeway to select the best barrels from a 'collection' of barrels and then blend them to obtain the finest taste within a chosen profile.
I am guessing that Parker Beam was allowed free rein of Heaven Hill's barrels to come up with the 'Golden Anniversary' realease, both because it is an anniversary and becasue it is being sold at an ultra premium price (to be charitable one must assume that this is a pretty limited number of bottles and that, at least to some degree, warrants the very high price).
The cost nothwithstanding, it is time to look at the taste of this bourbon........stating at the outset that I am not a proponent of the arguments that all tastes are equal and that taste is entirely subjective........both are hogwash!
I see no reason to claim that this bourbon is the BEST ever, that would be foolish (not that I am incapable of such a feat). But, I am certainly willing to say that I have never had a bourbon that is superior to Parker's HC Golden Anniversary. Yes, it is that good!
One of the more important distinctions 'twixt humans and other life forms is the ability to recognize the extraordinary............in music, in painting, in athletic ability, in food, and, of course, in drink. This is a quality for which we should be grateful and can (in my opinion) be counted among the many reasons as to why there is a God. For those of us who love bourbon, BourbonEnthusiast was established to explore this realm..........at least some of the time.
Golden Anniversary opens with a deep cherry/dark chocolaty sweetness that never lets go. It penetrates to the very core of what tasting can be. It knows every nook and cranny where the glory taste is to be found, goes directly there and rings the bells. The bells peal right through the finish. The spice has a 'brown' quality to it, as in cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg............in a just right peppery mix.
There is a dryness that is completely complementary to the complexity. There is a soft and delicate quality that points directly to the knowledge and experience of the MD. There are no edges, nor off notes to aggravate and unsettle the palate. In fact, the palate gives itself willingly to this bourbon!
There will be those who do not try this bourbon for various reasons. I can understand and appreciate that.
There will be those who will try this bourbon and say it is not to their liking. To them, I can only say that I would like to try a bourbon that they find to be better and why they think it is superior.
This is a Bourbon Enthusiast site and I have had my enthusiastic say and have done all in my power to defend my opinions. Let those who disagree have their say..........but please do not disagree based on cost, for this is not about cost, as important and compelling as that issue is, this is about taste.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas