Week 7 of Sample Mountain is Heaven Hill Barrel Proof Bourbon Week! I needed some strong bourbons to recover from the ice apocalypse this week here in Austin and these definitely fit the bill. I tasted these in order of proof starting with the 2020 Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char, then an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof before wrapping up with William Heaven Hill.
Age: 10 years
Nose: Caramel, oak, fainter nuttiness than I expected, subtle spices and smoke plus a touch of burn.
Taste: Predominantly vanilla and a lightly salted caramel with smokey oak and baking spice towards the end.
Finish: Long slightly dry finish with lingering spice, vanilla and oak.
Buy a bottle? At retail probably because 🥔 but not worth hunting
Age: 12 years
Nose: Very similar to the PH10
Taste: Vanilla cream, caramel, rich oak and baking spice. No Heaven Hill nuts. Great mouthfeel
Finish: Long and balanced with sweet vanilla and baking spice and subtle oak.
Buy a bottle? Yes, honestly preferred it to the PH10
Age: 12 years
Proof: 134.4 proof
Nose: Very strong compared to the first two with the baking spice notes taking the top billing
Taste: More complex than the first two with baking and rye spices, caramel, lots of oak but no bitterness, vanilla, subtler smoke and an almost leathery note. Very viscous mouthfeel.
Finish: Long and strong with complex spices, oak, smoke and vanilla.
Buy a bottle? Yes
The Parker’s was like a great batch of ECPB. The slight saltiness to it was very pleasant and not something I usually get with Heaven Hill. That said given the price and scarcity this one is not worth the hunt or paying a markup vs just grabbing a new batch of ECBP.
B517 and B519 are my favorite batches of Elijah Craig Barrel proof so far so I wasn’t surprised when this was a winner. Great execution of the classic bourbon profile. No surprises but everything came together great. It edged out the Parker’s and at half the price. This also made me realize that I am running low on ECBP so looking forward to B521 this summer!
The William Heaven Hill was definitely the winner here. The spice notes were more complex, the flavors were more intense on the nose and finish and the mouthfeel was easily the best of the bunch. I actually based on this at the Heaven Hill gift shop the day before we did the r/bourbon New Riff pick and now I regret it. Apart from the leather at the end it didn’t have new flavors compared to the other two but the spices tasted like someone went from using like 2 spices to 7, the oak had no dryness or bitterness and the caramel was sweeter at the same time. Sure the price is crazy but this is the pinnacle of that ECBP profile for me.
TL;DR: Enjoyed all 3, WHH was the easy winner, can’t be the value on ECBP, PH10 was borderline not worth it.