Don't miss a post -- follow @SippnCorn on Twitter

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sipp’n Corn Bourbon Heritage Month Reviews – Parker’s Heritage Collection 11th Edition & Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch

Bourbon Heritage Month is here!  And just as we’ve come to expect, bourbon fans are clamoring for the mid-September releases from Heaven Hill and Four Roses.

Heaven Hill continues to honor its late Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam while also continuing to support ALS research and patient care with the 2017 release of Parker’s Heritage Collection, now in its 11th edition.  One of the beauties of Parker’s Heritage Collection has been its range and diversity, but this year—fittingly—Heaven Hill honors Parker with a single barrel run aged in the Deatsville.  Some of the best bourbon that I’ve ever had was aged by Heaven Hill in Deatsville, so I’m eagerly anticipating this single barrel release.

This year’s Limited Edition Small Batch from Four Roses comes on the heels of its spring Limited Edition release honoring Al Young’s 50 years of service at Four Roses.  The Al Young 50th was absolutely magnificent (and is the current leader for my “bourbon of the year”), so the fall release will forever be compared to it, which is unfair but inevitable.  A twist this fall for Four Roses is that Master Distiller Brent Elliott selected only “E” mash bill bourbons for the small batch (of about 13,800 bottles), which means 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley, and none of the recipes using the 35% rye mash bill.  The Four Roses Limited Edition is always a highlight of September and for everyone visiting for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and it’s always a must-have for me.

Parker’s Heritage Collection Tasting Notes

Bourbon:
Parker’s Heritage Collection, 11th Edition (2017) Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery:
Heaven Hill, Bardstown, Kentucky (distilled in Louisville and aged in Deatsville)

Age:
11 years

ABV:
61% (122 proof)

Cost:
$130.00

Appearance:
Brown with amber hints, and distinct legs.

Nose:
The aroma hit from the moment that I broke the seal, with leather, dark dried fruit, and spice, all predicting huge flavors.  The addition of water really tamped down the aromas, however, so be sure to appreciate the aroma first.

Taste:
This is an intense, robust bourbon, with more oak than I would have guessed for 11 years.  It’s a blast of spice and oak with an underlying sugary caramel layer and an overall buttery feel.  Try it neat, but also try it with a splash of water, which controlled the heat but retained all of the remarkable flavors.

Finish:
Long, with a dry, slow burn.  A splash of water made the finish even better.

Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Tasting Notes

Bourbon:
Four Roses 2017 Limited Edition Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery:
Four Roses, Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Age:
15-year OESK – 20%
13-year OESK – 40%
12-year OESV – 40%

ABV:
53.65% (107.3 proof )
Note:  The sample bottle was labeled 53.95% (107.9 proof)

Cost:
$130.00

Appearance:
Glowing amber, lighter in comparison, and also with distinct legs.

Nose:
The nose is a classic Four Roses fruity, mellow nose, highlighting softer aromas like vanilla with a backbone of oak and spice.

Taste:
Fruit sweetness (think of ripe apricots and peaches) and brown sugar take the lead on this creamy bourbon.  It’s easy on the spice, but packs a punch of heat.  A splash of water added even more creaminess, but 107 proof has always seemed to be a favorite of mine, so I recommend keeping this one neat.

Finish:
Long, with a shift to baking spice and cinnamon, with lingering warmth.

Bottom Line

These two limited editions showcase the range of bourbon, and they both have great finishes but they get there by a different route.  This comparison is also a reminder that higher-rye doesn’t always result in more spice.  Here, the Four Roses “low-rye” mash bill of 20% rye grain is still higher than the industry standard, and has twice as much rye grain compared to the mash bill used for this edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection (75% corn, 10% rye, 12% malted barley).  Instead, yeast and aging conditions seemed to take the lead here.

Sample sizes are getting smaller and I’d like to have had more time with both of these to be able to elaborate on the reviews, but I can certainly recommend both enthusiastically.  If I were forced to pick one over the other, Parker’s Heritage Collection is the easy choice though, based mostly on that punch of heat in the Four Roses.  

Be on the lookout for both in mid-September!

Disclaimer: The respective brand managers kindly sent me a sample
for this review, without any strings attached. 
Thank you.

3 comments:

  1. Brian, specs for this year's PHC are not far off ECBP . . . how would you say the bottle compares to one of your better ECBP's? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good point, Matt. I imagine that others will wonder what makes PHC11 "better" than EC12BP. My standard-bearer for EC12BP is the original gift shop white label, and more recently Batch B517. PHC11 is more robust than both and finishes better than both -- which is saying a lot because those two EC12BPs are great. Even at more than double the price of EC12BP, it's a strong buy at suggested retail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love B517, so the PHC sounds amazing. Thanks for your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete