Saturday, November 19, 2011

2010 Parkers Heritage Collection

We gathered 13 bourbon nuts willing to participate in a double blind tasting and provided samples of last years release of Parkers Heritage Collection which was 10 years old and a wheat mashbill. This is Heaven Hill's yearly premium release with the price being premium as well. I always like the double blind as it it forces the reviewer to focus simply on the sample without any outside influence (label, age, proof, etc.). Here are the results and some feedback from some of the reviewers.

" Really nice mouth feel with caramel trending to burnt sugar right up front followed by oak which was readily apparent, but not overwhelming"

" Nice and thick. Oily with dry oak. The flavor is woodsy heat. Lovely. Really had me chewing"

"Nose which is very forward and sweet, toffee, canned pears, tangerine, honey and threads of spice. The palate shows immediate sweetness of brown sugar and hints of toffee. The mouth feel is a bit thin and seems to clean rather than coat the palate. A bit more heat than expected in the mid-range which wants to hang around for a bit and has a masking impact on flavor. Fruit, fall spices, vanilla, honey and some citrus notes come forward. The finish is OK length wise but the sweetness drops off quite quickly leaving a fairly flat after taste. I will need to revisit this whiskey as it is coming across a bit disjointed. Lots of stuff I like here but just does not seem to come together and a bit hot to boot"

"This deep copper whiskey is a high proofer. You can feel the alcohol when nosing, but it is not overpowering. It smells of sweet candied pear and caramel, toffee and vanilla. This is a huge whiskey it enters very sweet then the proof kicks in. A lot of the pear/apple character from the nose carries through for me on the taste. It is chewy with lots of vanilla. It is evident that this is a barrel proofer but again, the alcohol is not overwhelming. This whiskey finishes forever and is extremely well balanced. You get hints of everything: Vanilla, apple/pear, barrel character, alcohol but none of them take over. Very, very nice pour."

95-100 Classic Whiskey 1 7.69%
90-94 Excellent Whiskey 5 38.46%
85-89 Very Good, Above Average Whiskey 5 38.46%
80-84 Average Whiskey 2 15.38%
75-79 Fair Whiskey 0 0%
74 and Under - Pass on This Whiskey 0 0%

The PHC release each year has been above average to great over the years. The 2011 release has a Cognac finish. I've had it and I'm not sure the Cognac influence is doing the bourbon any favors. That's my first impressions but I need to go back and revisit this years release to give it a fair shake. If your hunting around and come across the 2010 release, do yourself a favor and bring one home as it's a very decent pour. Retails for about $70 and up.


  1. Greg give this one a try again. I am interested in knowing your thoughts. I've told some folks that they should be prepared for "different". But what the cognac finish has done is really ramped up the fruitiness, added a sweet floral layer, and sharpened/concentrated the flavors as a whole. I think it's beautiful, but it's a polarizing whiskey for sure because it's so very unique in the bourbon world.

    As an aside, I need to ask the guys at Heaven Hill about this, but the fingerprint of this bourbon is very much in line with the 2000 Evan Williams Single Barrel. Of course we know it's the same recipe, and we know the original bourbon is from the high racks, but it certainly has that elegance that the 2000 had vs. some of the others (including 2001). Which further begs the question to HH. How about releasing a 100 proof Evan Williams Single Barrel?

  2. Jason - you are absolutely correct, I will revisit this one. If a bourbon at first try doesn't impress me, I'll put it aside and revisit at a later date. There are too many factors that can influence first impressions (food, mood, health, etc.) With respect to the EWSB BIB (100 proof), I think that's a good idea and one I would try. I know you like the EWSB expressions but to me they are average overall (of course some years better than others). I'm not sure if the Henry McKenna is the same mashbill as the EWSB but that one is from HH, is 10 years old and a BIB so in case it's the same mashbill, viola....there you have it.