Company: Heaven Hill Distillery: Old Heaven Hill Springs Distillery
Released: Fall 2018 Proof: 94.7 Age: 27 Years Mashbill: 78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye
Heaven Hill 27 Year Barrel Proof Small Batch Bourbon was produced at the Old Heaven Hill Springs Distillery before it was destroyed by a fire in 1996. As such, it is referred to as “pre-fire” Heaven Hill bourbon. The release is comprised of 41 barrels that were produced in 1989 and 1990. All but five of the barrels comprising this release were aged on the first and second floors of Heaven Hill’s rickhouses, where the conditions were such that the proof decreased over time. As a result, when all of the barrels were combined it resulted in an unusually low barrel proof of only 94.7. Less than 3,000 bottles were produced, which equates to evaporation loss of approximately 73% or more. This one-time release bourbon was made available to limited markets in the fall of 2018.
Woody aromas are most prominent. Seasoned wood, cigar box, and aged oak comprise the overall aroma, along with hints of tobacco. It lacks the typical sweeter notes often found in bourbon, such as caramel and vanilla, but that’s not to say the woody aroma is overdone. Additionally, the nose notably lacks a general funkiness that is sometimes found in older bourbons, instead highlighting an array of woody scents in a rather straightforward but approachable manner. Aged wood tannins bite hard. It’s immediately dry in an unusually upfront way. There are undertones of sweeter characteristics that tease a bit, but don’t wholeheartedly come into play. It’s rather robust, and turns towards a spicy note as its rolled around in the mouth. The finish starts with big spice and an in-your-face dryness at first, which then fades to a complex integration of flavors. Lead by aged oak, cigar box, and tobacco, traces of leather and a light smokiness are also present. It’s anything but smooth at the start, but once the initial bite fades, you’re rewarded with a long and rather complex finish.