I always look forward to the annual release of the Parker's Heritage Collection bourbon. Each fall since 2007, Heaven Hill releases a new version of Parker's, each one completely different from the last. They tend to run from very good to excellent, are reasonably priced and best of all, are relatively easy to find (unlike some brands, Heaven Hill doesn't whip up hysteria with manufactured scarcity).
This year's Parker's is a ten year old, 100 proof bourbon finished for six months in Cognac casks from the House of Frapin.
Parker's Heritage Collection Barrel Finished, 10 yo, 50% abv ($80)
I was wondering if you would detect a mere six months of Cognac barrel ageing, but wow, there it is, right on the nose. The first thing you get is sweet Cognac, followed up by more characteristic woody bourbon notes. The Cognac is equally apparent in the front of the palate, followed up by coffee, oak and then some light minty flavors. There's a lot there, but it doesn't all coalesce. The sum of the parts here may be greater than the whole. The finish is a smoky cask.
This is a good bourbon with some really interesting notes and a very pleasant drinker. Because Parker's is a completely different release each year, it doesn't really make sense to compare them, but I wouldn't count this one among my favorites (a club that would include the first edition and last year's wheater), but it's certainly fun to have around.
Now that I've had a few finished American whiskeys, I'll discuss this growing phenomenon in a future post. Stay tuned.