Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Cadenhead's Heaven Hill...or is it?
Heaven Hill seems to be one of the only bourbons bottled by independent Scotch bottlers. A few years ago, I reviewed an Alchemist bottling of Heaven Hill. Now, I'm tasting a Cadenhead's bottle of 17 year old Heaven Hill.
Interestingly, this bottle is 17 years old and was bottled in July 2014. If it went directly from cask to bottle, that would mean it was distilled in between August 1996 and July 1997. The Heaven Hill distillery, though, burnt down in a massive fire in November 1996, so if this is from Heaven Hill, it must have been some of the last distillate made from the Bardstown Distillery.
After the fire, Heaven Hill contracted out distilling to the other big Kentucky distilleries, including Jim Beam and Brown Forman. In 1999, they purchased the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville which now distills all of Heaven Hill's whiskeys.
The label on this bottle states that it was "Distilled at Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky" so presumably, that's what it is. Of course, it could have been distilled earlier than 1996 and stored in steel tanks, and since whiskey can always be older than the stated age, it could be older than 17 years, though it would be odd to use a lower age statement on a single barrel bottling (assuming that this is a single barrel. It's labeled "Individual Cask," whatever that means.)
Heaven Hill 17 year old Cadenhead's, 58% abv
The nose is heavily peanutty. The palate is oaky with light peanut notes trailing off into the finish with brown sugar. Hmm, this is very Beamy tasting with that peanut nose. In fact, it tastes much more like old Beam, say an older Booker's, than pre-fire Heaven Hill. Either way, it's quite good, and who doesn't love a bourbon with a little mystery?