The good folks at Heaven Hill’s Parker’s continue their annual bourbon blowout with this 4th edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, a 10-year-old wheated mashbill whiskey, bottled at cask strength. (That strength will vary, but in the case of my sample, that’s 127.8 proof.)
Last year’s Golden Anniversary bourbon was hot but full of gorgeous fruit and candy notes. This one is well past that — blazing hot — and immediately begs for water before more than a tiny sip can be taken. With a splash of water, things open up beautifully. The whiskey’s wheat character (corn and malted barley are also used) is evident here, offering a more earthy, rocky profile than the traditional spice imbued by recipes that use rye instead. But the moderate sweetness on the front of the palate is ultimately outweighed by this savory character, and it eventually turns toward the bitter on the back of the throat, an effect that is made all the more powerful by its heavy wood notes.
Parker’s 4th Heritage Edition doesn’t really hold a candle to last year’s near masterpiece, but in a world with few wheated whiskeys, it’s well worth investigating.
A- / $80 / bardstownwhiskeysociety.com