Oops... I've been very remiss and not posted my notes from the Heaven Hill Twitter tasting held back in July.
Note to self... DO MORE BLOGGING!!!
This was a tasting hosted by Steve Rush of @TheWhiskyWire on July 4th, American Independence Day. We were tasting four expressions from the Heaven Hill distillery, who were founded back in 1935 in Kentucky. I'm not much of a bourbon drinker, with the majority of my American whiskey experiences being limited to many, many double JD & cokes quaffed in my college days. More recent experiences have been few and far between, although I have participated other tweet tastings and also remember a evening of bourbon tasting hosted by Arkwrights which turned out to be a more raucous affair than their usual events! So, given my lack of "liquid Americana" (copyright Steve Rush :-) ) experience, I was pleased to be picked to participate in this tasting. Here are my notes on the expressions we tasted that evening:
Evan Williams Extra Aged - NAS - 43%, ~£25
Produced using bourbons aged between 5 & 7 Years Old using a mashbill of 75% corn, 13% rye & 12% barley. Named after Evan Williams who, in 1783, opened Kentucky’s first commercial distillery. Evan Williams is the 2nd largest selling Kentucky Straight Bourbon in the world.
Banana foams, some minerally watery notes there too, and a big kick of oak. With time you get marzipan & wiffs of acetone.
Little bit rubbery, quite dry, bbq'd bananas & vanilla cream, with a couple of burnt embers thrown in the mix.
Bits of spicy ginger and cinnamon appear… but overall it's really a gradual fading of the palate (minus the rubber which only appears at the very beginning)
John E. Fitzgerald Larceny - NAS - 46%, ~£47
Larceny is produced using wheat as its secondary grain, instead of the more traditional rye grain. Casks for Larceny have been hand selected by its Master Distiller, to have a taste profile of a 6yr Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Larceny has its origins in the long & colourful history of John E. Fitzgerald who built a distillery on the banks of the Kentucky River in the 1870s. The Old Fitzgerald brand was sold to Julian P. “Pappy” Van Winkle during Prohibition.
Initial whiff got rid of my nose hairs. It's a bit minty, then you get dry fresh oak notes. Mellows tho & thick honey appears.
With time to mellow, you get leathery notes and cereals.
Someone mentioned beans on toast… and you do get that after a while! :-D
Leaves one hell of a tide mark in the glass too.
Yummy, warm & sweet. Vanilla swimming in honey, creamy porridge with loads of cinnamon, dried orange peel too.
Warm buttered tea cakes, then ginger & aniseed pips on the finish… this is a really good whiskey, and I'm not usually a big fan of bourbon!
Bernheim Original Small Batch Wheat Whiskey - 7 years old - 45%, ~£60
Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey. Bernheim has been aged for at least 7 years & wheat makes up 51% of its mashbill. Bernheim Original was the first straight wheat whiskey to be launched in the US since prohibition.
Not as 'potent' as the previous. Subtle minty tones and some faint earthy mineral notes temper a big cola-cube kick. After time you get some almond nuttiness too. This is a bit different to the others, more 'whisky' like. Not as sharp.
It's got a touch of smokiness, meatiness but overall a fruity sweetness like a well reduced fruity BBQ sauce which contains black cherries.
Didn't see much in the way in agreement from fellow TT'ers! More fruity, creamy, cherry notes being noted.
Still rich… dark chocolate appears. Like a further reduction of the bbq sauce with raw cocoa added.
Rittenhouse Rye Bottled In Bond - NAS - 50%, ~£36
Rittenhouse Rye, has been aged for at least 4 years. Rittenhouse Rye, has a storied past with a heritage that commemorates Philadelphia's famous Rittenhouse Square
Wow - quite different to the others. Oily, some licorice notes, quite spicy with grated ginger, dried oranges, clove & chilli flakes too.
Give it time and you get root beer big time.
Initial hint of rubber gives way to waves of cinnamon and burnt orange, then white pepper, then cream soda. It's a bit confused.
With water, a little more 'together' with emphasis on the orange & gentle spice with a custard creaminess.
The creaminess continues, but you do get hints of spice and the rubberiness that isn't great.
The Bernheim was my favourite of the four, with the Larceny coming in second. Evan Williams came in third with Rittenhouse close behind. I definitely preferred the Bernheim & Larceny.