Parker’s Heritage Collection: Wheated Mashbill (2010 release)

Maker: Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA

Style: Wheated Bourbon

Age: 10 y/o

Proof: 124.2 (62.1% ABV)

Appearance: Deep auburn.

Nose: Alcohol, vanilla butter cream frosting, oak, blondies, white pepper.

On the palate: Full-bodied, sweet, vanilla frosting, then it evaporates off the tongue. With a little water, the oak comes close to taking over. There is still a good amount of sweetness, and vanilla though and a bit of allspice and ginger to boot.

Finish: Big oak, then hot, hot hot and a long, lingering burn. With water, still some burn, but a little white chocolate, oak, turbinado sugar.

Parting words: When United Distillers Corporation was merged out of existence, Old Fitzgerald, the wheated bourbon flagship of the closed Stitzel-Weller distillery, went to Heaven Hill. The quality of Old Fitz had already been declining and the sale didn’t make it any better. Its reputation tanked, and not without justification. The conventional wisdom was that the folks at Heaven Hill just didn’t care about wheaters.

The previous entries in the Parker’s Heritage Collection (named for Master Distiller Parker Beam) were both from the rye bourbon mashbill. When this wheated bourbon edition was released back in 2010, it was something of a revelation. It has the sweet vanilla flavors one expects but it has power that few wheated bourbons have. Let’s hope it’s a sign of good things to come.

Parker’s Heritage Collection: Wheated Mashbill was an instant classic, and is pretty hard to find on shelves, but there are still some out there. It’s not cheap, either, but it’s worth every penny. Highly recommended.