Review: Heaven Hill Heritage Collection Bourbon 18 Years Old (2024)

Review: Heaven Hill Heritage Collection Bourbon 18 Years Old (2024)

 

Heaven Hill’s inaugural Heritage Collection release in 2022 was such a standout that it earned a spot on our Top 10 Whiskeys of the year list. The 2023 follow-up — a 20-year-old corn whiskey — didn’t quite impress the same way, but its unique composition was a bit of an oddity that at least provided some level of explanation.

For 2024, Heaven Hill has returned to bourbondom, upping the 17 year old age statement from last time around with an 18 year old offering. Per the company, “This 2024 edition features Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Whiskey mashbill, comprised of 78% corn, 12% malted barley and 10% rye, and is bottled at 120 proof. With an age statement of 18 years, this release is made up of 133 barrels produced in December 2005 pulled from the third floor of Rickhouse 1I.”

Those looking for a reprise of the masterful 2022 release will likely be immediately surprised by what’s in the bottle here — with a nose that is immediately quite weird and overtly beefy, exuding a sustained light smokiness. Imagine a big barbecue brisket with a fruity glaze — blackberry and cassis — and you’re on the right track, all of which makes for a daunting and somewhat off-putting introduction to the whiskey.

The palate sticks close to the above with a heavily tannic lumberyard quality that mixes fruit and umami elements somewhat haphazardly. Notes of Umeshu, soy sauce, ripe plums, and London broil all hit the palate with a cascading cacophony of flavors. Thick and bittersweet, it’s not particularly sawdust-driven but more dense and peppery as it takes its meandering and scattered route to the carving station.

You can temper all of the above with time in glass (lots of it) or water (less of it), the latter of which helps to soften things up and bring out notes of sesame, sweet tea, and more of a white pepper quality. It’s a terrific pro move for this whiskey, which at full strength just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.

120 proof.

B / $300 / heavenhilldistillery.com

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection Bourbon 18 Years Old (2024)

$300
8

Rating

8.0/10

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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