Monday, December 28, 2015

Parker's Heritge Collection Malt Whiskey


There was some surprise when Heaven Hill announced that this year's edition of Parker's Heritage Collection would be an eight year old malt whiskey. Who even knew that Heaven Hill was aging malt? What's next year's release going to be? Spelt whiskey? Triticale? Are they just teasing those of us who are salivating over the idea of a ten year old, cask strength rye?

I didn't make much effort to try this one, but when Josh from The Whiskey Jug showed up at a tasting with a bottle, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Parker's Heritage Collection Malt Whiskey, 8 years old, 54% abv ($100)

This stuff smells like vanilla scented soap. The palate has oak and cardboard and is slightly sweet. That's pretty much all there is to it, and that same oaky cardboard note carries into the finish. It's boring with no complexity or depth of flavor.

I've often thought the problem with American malt whiskeys is that malted barley is too subtle a grain to withstand the new, charred oak required by American regulations. This seems to confirm that supposition. That being said, lots of other folks seem to like it (including The Whiskey Jug), so as always, different strokes for different folks.


7 comments:

Edward said...

Seeing as this is just whiskey (as opposed to bourbon or rye), do American regulations actually require new, charred oak?

sku said...

Yes. Under the TTB regulations, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Malt Whiskey and Wheat Whiskey must be stored in new, charred oak. You can age in used barrels, but then you have to call it "Whiskey distilled from malt [or rye, wheat, bourbon] mash."

Edward said...

Thanks for the clarification. I didn't realize malt whiskey was specifically defined.

Harry said...

Do you think that vatting it with the Woodford Reserve Classic Malt gathering dust on the back of one of my shelves would improve them both? I'm open to all suggestions and looking for solutions.

Snidely Whiplash said...

I've often thought the problem with American malt whiskeys is that malted barley is too subtle a grain to withstand the new, charred oak required by American regulations.

That is my exact opinion as well. All the American craft single-malts I've had have been IMO overwhelmed by barrel influence. Cut Spike, Stranahan's, Balcones, etc. The only one I've had that *wasn't* a hot mess was McCarthy's.

Jon Herr said...

Sku-- could you age it for a day in new oak to get the "malt whiskey" then move to used barrels? "Day-old malt whiskey finished in Pedro ximenez casks" for instance?

sku said...

John, that would be permissible under the regs, though it wouldn't be a straight malt whiskey in that case.