One of the most hotly anticipated new whiskeys to come out each year is the annual bottling of Parker’s Heritage Collection. Each year, Parker Beam puts together something dangerous and delicious, a blend of rare whiskeys, odd finishes, or just plain good Bourbon.
For this release, the fifth Heritage bottling, Beam turned to an unusual finish: Cognac barrels. Cognac casks are very unusual as a finishing wood, and I’ve only encountered it a few times in the spirits world — and I’ve never tasted a Bourbon with a Cognac finish before, a testament to how rare good, used Cognac barrels can be.
This limited release Bourbon spent 10 years in high-elevation ricks before being put into oversized Limousin oak barrels that held three-year-old Grande Champagne Cognac from Frapin Cellars. The Bourbon rested for six months in the new barrels before being bottled.
The results are, as usual for the Collection, amazing. This is a huge (and very dark colored) Bourbon, and the Cognac comes through clearly, giving this Bourbon a lot more sweetness than most. But at the same time, it’s richly complex, with raisin, cinnamon, and smoldering wood notes. Long finish, with a character similar to that of many Port-finished whiskeys. The 100 proof alcohol level makes it burn hot, so try a touch of water to help coax out more of those spicy notes. This is one you’ll want to revisit over and over.