For a number of years my Christmas wish list included bourbon and without fail, my loving bride would come through with the items I wanted most which usually meant that years release of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. For the first time, BTAC didn’t make it on my list this year. The only thing I’ve asked for is the newest release of Parkers Heritage Collection (4th Ed). This year’s release is the first from Heaven Hill produced wheat bourbon since they took over the Bernheim Distillery in 1999. Malt Advocate rated it a 93 and other enthusiasts have been quite positive in their feedback. I’ve had it and it is quite good. I initially did not intend on getting a bottle because of its steep retail price of $80 but through the kindness of a friend who acquired multiple bottles at a steep discount, I hope to unwrap a single bottle on Christmas morning. I’m not sad or second guessing my decision to not ask for any BTAC for a couple reasons. First, I have a deep bunker of previous releases, many of which I have yet to try. The last full set of BTAC that I had open was from 2006; I know, pretty sad. I’ve opened singles along the way but never a full set all at once since 2006. Second, I’ve recently hooked up with other enthusiasts who are hard core and like to travel to Bourbon Mecca (Kentucky!) and pick out their own barrels. I’m fortunate to be included in this exercise and as a result, I’ve acquired bottles that I find to be stellar bourbon from start to finish. For a little over a year, I’ve participated in some fashion the tasting or selection of 5 barrels and in my very biased opinion, they are top shelf all the way. The lure of single barrel offerings like Stagg or William LaRue always get my attention but I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t have them all and have settled into a state of contentment with what I have.
So, for Christmas this year I anticipate getting a single bottle of Parkers, a coffee roaster, a Belgian waffle maker and a stocking full of assorted candy. I’m thankful that I don’t need soap on a rope, socks or underoos.