Updated: Jul 16
Score: 8.7 / 10
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Heaven Hill Distillery is a family-owned and operated distillery located in Bardstown, Kentucky, USA. It was founded in 1935 shortly after the repeal of Prohibition and has remained in the Shapira family for three generations. They are best known producing a diverse portfolio of whiskey brands, including Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny, Henry McKenna, and many more. They offer a variety of bourbon, rye, and other whiskey expressions to cater to different taste preferences
Heaven Hill offers visitors the opportunity to explore their distillery through guided tours at their Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Kentucky. The center provides an educational and immersive experience, showcasing the history, production process, and tasting of their whiskey offerings. This is actually the only place you are going to get this. And you get to bottle it yourself!!
Nose: Explosion of charred caramel overwhelms the nose at first, but then opens up to earl grey tea (I swear terroir is real with Heaven Hill and its always tea) and peach. Deeper in the glass I find rich vanilla extract with cinnamon and cereal notes (can you see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch!?). Finally there's light apple rind, raisin, and a hint of smoke.
Palate: Luscious caramel and brown sugar coat the palate. The mouthfeel is oily, then slightly waxy as flavors sit on the palate and expand. After an initial burst of flavor, a big pepper and cinnamon spice ramps up in the center of the palate (the proof shines here but it's never overbearing). The mouthfeel becomes effervescent at this point and under the spice there's juicy red apple, apple cider, peach, cherry, and cherry cola that bounces around the palate. Throughout the entire drinking experience there's a light, but creamy vanilla underneath other salient notes.
Finish: The finish is moderately tannic and medium to long in duration. Sides of the mouth dry up, but the center of the palate remains slick with slightly astringent oaky caramel notes lingering about. Faint cherry cola fades out leaving a light crackling pepper spice. The proof throws the palate into a stranglehold (where are my Ted Nugent fans at!?) and leaves a Sichuan pepper numbing sensation on the very tail end of the finish. As all other flavors and embers of spice fade there's a refreshing spearmint gum note that takes center stage.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Rare - Only available at the Bourbon Experience on Whiskey Row in Bardstown Kentucky. Definitely worth the grab and for the experience. Generally you only get to pour things out of bottle. Not in.