Parabola, the flagship in Firestone Walker’s Proprietor’s Vintage Series, is changing things up once again for 2022. While last year’s release saw aging, for the first time ever, in a mix of bourbon, rye, and wheat whiskey barrels, the latest edition is a much simpler, all ex-bourbon-aged creation with one catch; the barrels used were all older stock, previously holding 12-year-old bourbon from Heaven Hill (presumable Elijah Craig). According to Barrel Program Manager Eric Ponce, that’s a significant tweak, as historically Parabola has aged in bourbon barrels only six- to eight-years-old. What has that older bourbon barrel done for this year’s Parabola release?
It pours as pitch black as ever with just a slight sizzle of cocoa-tinged carbonation that quickly retreats to the edges of a pint glass. The aroma is decadent with dark, creamy gianduja chocolate, toasted malts, and cold brew coffee. The barrel is expertly integrated, as usual with these releases, showing notes of marshmallow fluff, butterscotch pudding, and mild baking spice. The palate is simply massive, with thick notes of chewy fudge and juicy black cherry, all of which noticeably softens the chicory bite of the dark malts making for an even more quaffable brew. The finish, long and syrupy, showcases a classic dark chocolate bitterness but with the addition of a little pipe smoke and more dark stone fruit. There’s definitely something bigger and richer about this year’s Parabola release. Whether or not it’s due to the older bourbon barrels, it’s the best I’ve tasted yet from the brewing wizards at Firestone Walker.
14.1 % abv.
A / $15 / firestonebeer.com