The 15th round of Parker’s Heritage Collection is here, and for the second time it’s a wheat whiskey, which the series first did in 2014 as a 13 year old. This 2021 release is 11 years old, but it also draws on a trick used for the last two years of the Heritage Collection: heavy char barrels fired to a well-scorched level 5 char. With this heavy char wheat whiskey (51% wheat, 37% corn, and 12% malted barley), a trilogy of sorts, including a heavy char bourbon and rye, has been completed. As is traditional with the Heritage Collection, a portion of proceeds from the whiskey’s sales will be donated to ALS research, from which Parker Beam died several years ago.
With prologue complete, let’s give this 2021 release a try.
Misses in the Parker’s Heritage Collection are few and far between, and Heaven Hill has crafted another clear winner with this release. The impact of the heavy char is evident on the nose, with plenty of toasted wood immediate, but there’s also ample sweetness, with maple and ripe banana notes wafting from the glass. The palate is indeed very sweet, as the nose would indicate, an initial rush of flavor offering butterscotch, flambeed banana, and orange peel notes. Surprisingly approachable even at its full 61% abv, the sugar rush is tempered by some spice notes on the finish, though caramel and vanilla dominate and keep the experience leaning toward the dessert side of things. If you like your whiskeys sweet, you’ll love this year’s Parker’s.
That said, while there’s a little less nuance with this release than we’ve seen with other Parker’s Heritage bottlings, it’s still a standout installment in the series that’s well worth your time.