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Old 01-13-2008, 08:02 AM   #1
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Parker's Heritage Collection Bourbon. . . .

At a price of what seems to be an industry instruction all over the country of $79.99, which for me was a "walk-out price" of $86.69 with tax at Warehouse Wines last fall, it is indeed expensive. It is billed as "cask strength" and at 122.6 proof, that's strong enough for me. The label on the bottle says it was barreled in 1996, which would make it 11 years old, as I assume it was bottled in 2007.

That's quite young, especially to be costing $86.69, but we've got this "boutique" thing going on in the American whiskey business, the way cigars had it going on 10 years ago.

The bottle tag with the full story of the Beam's that work for the Heaven Hill Distillery mentions that Parker Beam carefully combs the warehouses for the "honey" barrels. I would say that my biggest hint to you all is to affirm that this bourbon is indeed most definitely reminiscent of very fine honey at times.

It is so hard to define the flavor profile on this bourbon, except to say that it is virtually unlimited. I have truly tasted no less than four, and possibly as many as six different flavors at times, including perhaps truffles. What this does not have a lot of is wood, most likely due to its relatively young age.

It does have a lot of sweet, candy like flavors, with enough spice and balance to provide a never ending series of guesses as to what one might be tasting. The finish is also never ending, and the warming effect is almost instant with each sip, coming up from the belly and spreading throughout the entire body.

This bourbon is rich, complex, full bodied, and ever changing. Although it is special, it "only" slips in at No. 9. It was very hard not to rate this above the now defunct Weller 19 year old, and even Booker's, but it loses a close decision to both. It does push Distiller's Masterpiece I - Cognac Finish, down to No. 10.

The only drawback to Parker's Heritage Collection Bourbon is the $79.99 plus tax or shipping price tag. It seems that there is no variance of even a penny on the sticker price nationwide, so there must be a very tight agreement on that aspect.

For something only 11 years old, even at barrel proof, the price is steep and hard to afford. If you can, it's worth it. It's almost as if someone took the William Larue Weller 2005 version and married it with one or two of the George T. Stagg releases. This is expensive, but fascinating, and almost like drinking a meal, it's so full bodied, complex and flavorful.

For my new Top 25 List, see the sticky post.
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Old 09-10-2008, 10:27 PM   #2
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Re: Parker's Heritage Collection Bourbon. . . .

Since first reviewing this bourbon way back when, I have learned a few things, which have rounded out my knowledge of the first release of this bourbon. I learned them from an article which I found on line at Malt Advocate. In checking this link currently, it give me an error message. I learned quite a bit, and read a great review on this new bourbon, which it turns out, has been released in the first year's product line in three different proofs. I found this out, because I liked the 122.6 proof so much initially, that having money at the time, I bought another immediately. But upon opening it, I found that it said 127.4 proof on the label. Some on line research brought me to some great information, wherein I found it is to be an annual release, something different every year, and that the first year (2007) was three different proof releases.

Here's my most recent review on the 127.4 proof release of the Parker's Heritage Collection, First Year's Release bourbon.

It took the whole bottle and only because God had the good wisdom to create the air conditioner, was I able to drink bourbon at all during the summer. All that and living in a top floor apartment. Nice place to check out the hot girls on the avenue all day, though. And when you can do it with . . .


I know that if I had drunk this bottle during the winter it would have tasted even better, but it took the entire bottle for me to figure out where to put it.

Parker's Heritage Collection 127.4 proof bourbon. And make SURE it's the 127.4 proof version. Please be advised this is from the FIRST year's release, and it's one of three different proofs released, of which I have tasted two. The 122.6 proof version placed as noted previously in this thread, and with only one really major flaw in scoring the 127.4 proof version, which I will refer to as 1(b), it really deserved its position.

And indeed, the now extremely empty bottle of Parker's Heritage Collection, First Year, 127.4 proof release, sits next to what is still the all-time king of the nearly 90 bourbons I've tried, the A.H. Hirsch 16 year old. And be advised, the Parker's 127.4 took the Hirsch 16 in to the 14th Round. That's right, I'm an old fogey, and fights go 15 rounds in "my day." This Parker's scared the crap out of the Hirsch and and in my estimation, stands with The Classic Cask 22 year old rye, and the A-E bottles of the Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year old rye, as my all-time elite, untouchable whiskeys, above all else. It's kind of like these two ryes, the Hirsch 16 and now Parker's First Year 127.4 proof bourbons are the athletes that are not only world class, but elite, above even the other champions.

So, what was it about this bourbon that knocked the Hirsch clear across the ring a few times during the match, Bloof? Thickness of body, richness of flavor, complexity of flavor profile, and pleasantness of experience. Drawbacks, Bloof? It's nitpicking, but it cropped up time and again. I also have to take in to account that even though I have AC, it's not the same as what your body is like when the high is 35 and the low is 22 for the day in your area. Your bodily processes are different, even in a perfect indoor environment.

The major fault, if it's even there, with the Parker's Heritage Collection, First Year, 127.4 proof release is that it's too much sometimes. It's like a meal on the palate, very much raisins, plums, sweetness, also lots of wood, because of the age, smooth, unbelievably, ridiculously smooth for something that's over 5/8 alcohol. It's so much on the palate at times, so much delicious but indiscernible food tastes, that the flavors run together, and the finish is a bit short, it flattens out, and I'm left asking myself right up until the next sip, is this really that good?

But time went by, and time after time of trying this bourbon, throughout the entire 17 shot experience, I never found a moment of doubt or unpleasantness about how much I just love this whiskey. It's like so much rich, delicious food, or fruits on the palate, amazingly smooth and pleasant, never a bad memory.

Parker Beam and the boyahs ain't playin' games with this newfangled bourbon o' theirs. It's my new all-time No. 2, and the Top 25 will be adjusted accordingly. It's for that standardized price of $79.99 + shipping, tax, or lipstick charges, whatever applies in your state, but it's also the end of the first decade of the 21st Century. Up the bucks already, or get three others, put up a Jackson apiece, and a few pennies beyond, and you'll get over a four shot share each of a memorable and extremely happy bourbon.
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