Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finishing School: Parker's Heritage Collection Barrel Finished

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.


Regular Chumpington said...

I'm interested about how you see this one compared to Angel's Envy, which seems to be a similar-ish release. I know you said the nose on the AE was not to your liking in general, being more floral.

Do you see the PH as being better overall? The kind of lack of integration on PHC is what I'm curious about.. I've been just on the edge of buying a bottle the last few times I've seen it and this is more confusion. :) (For reference, I liked AE for what it was)

I realize it's an abstract question of apples & oranges to some extent.

sku said...

I did like the PHC better than the Angel's Envy. They are quite different, of course. AE is port finished and very light and floral. PHC doesn't have that same lightness; it has good body and some nice Cognac flavors. I thought it was quite good but not great. I'll have no problem finishing a bottle.