Malt Advocate‘s John Hansell called this whiskey the “American Whiskey of the Year” (2009), a heavy honor from a man who samples hundreds of whiskies a year and certainly knows his stuff. I finally tracked down a bottle — not an easy task — to see what all the fuss was about.
The idea: To celebrate master distiller Park Beam’s 50th anniversary as a whiskeymaker, whiskey from each of Parker’s five decades in the biz is included in the blend. At 100 proof, this is hot stuff, and it easily benefits from a splash of water. A deep amber color, it also opens up as you let air get to it, revealing some of the charms that Hansell is so enchanted with.
Lovely apple fruit, vanilla, and rounded wood tones are the highlights here, with a dessert-like sweetness that Hansell astutely terms as “nougat” like. The finish is easygoing but harkens back to wood — remember there is at least some 40-plus-year-old whiskey in this thing but evaporates with hints of pie crust and biscuits, sugar and spice.
Whiskey of the year? That’s hard to say. I remain enamored with Old Rip Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old… though Parker’s Golden boy is awfully close on its heels.
A / $150 / bardstownwhiskeysociety.com