...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Heaven Hill 19 year old bourbon, bottled in 2016 by Cadenhead

This is my first Cadenhead-bottled Heaven Hill. I've tried a pair of 2001 Heaven Hills from Malts of Scotland, but I don't think I've had any other American whiskies bottled by Europeans. Per unofficial online rumors (always a safe source) this barrel spent 3 years in Kentucky before being moved to a Cadenhead Campbeltown warehouse in 1999 where it then spent another 16 years. I'm hoping, HOPING, the change of scenery softened the maturation of those last 16 years, resulting in something that does not taste like furniture. Here it goes...

Actual color
Distiller: Heaven Hill
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: World Whiskies
Region: Louisville, Kentucky meets Campbeltown, Scotland
Maturation: New American oak barrel
Mashbill75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Age: at least 19 years old (1996? - Feb 2016)
Outturn: 150 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.7%
(Thank you to LV33 for the sample!!)

No generic barrel char to be found in the nose. Kiwis, nectarines and dark chocolate sit in its place. Then some burlap, toffee, blossoms, a drizzle of Pedro Ximénez and just a little bit of vanilla bean. Much less wood and burn than I'd expected from the palate. One can find sea salt, stone fruits, dark chocolate and sesame oil up front. Some tangy pepper sauce in the back. It gets brinier and savorier with time. There are hints of the nose's fruits in the finish, along with cloves, cayenne pepper, umami and a minor tannic nip.

Should I just be drinking American whiskey aged in Scotland instead of American whiskey aged in America? Yes? Great. That'll be a cheap hobby.

The nose wins the day as usual, but still this bourbon drinks very well at this strength. I had a much different experience with the whiskey than did Serge. I didn't find it very oaky, and you know what a sensitive turd I am about tannins. There was a small vanilla note, no barrel char, no caramel and no puckering finish. Instead it has a good balance of salty, savory, fruity and floral characteristics. If I ever get back to Scotland, I'll keep a lookout for Heaven Hills in the Cadenhead shops.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87