Heaven Hill Distillery, a paragon of American whiskey craftsmanship, has once again captivated enthusiasts with the announcement of its latest masterpiece: the 18-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, part of the esteemed 2024 Heritage Collection. A testament to the distillery's unwavering commitment to excellence, this limited-edition release showcases the culmination of patience, tradition, and a meticulous selection process.
Scheduled to grace the shelves of select retailers nationwide in March 2024, the 18-year-old Heritage Collection bourbon is a testament to Heaven Hill's rich history and expertise in aging fine spirits. As the third installment in the Heritage Collection, following the 17-year-old Kentucky bourbon in 2022 and the 20-year-old corn whiskey in 2023, this release continues the legacy of presenting aficionados with exceptional, aged expressions.
Master Distiller Conor O'Driscoll, the maestro behind this symphony of flavors, revealed that the 2024 bottling draws its essence from 133 barrels aged on the third floor of Rickhouse 1I, a storied edifice nearly a century old. O'Driscoll emphasized the unique qualities of this aging location, boasting 80,000 barrels and an exceptional ability to craft remarkably soft, subtle, and gentle whiskeys without overpowering wood notes.
The mashbill for this elixir of sophistication consists of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye. This traditional recipe, shared among Heaven Hill's iconic bourbon lines like Evan Williams, Henry McKenna, and Elijah Craig, ensures a flavor profile deeply rooted in the distillery's heritage.
In an exclusive interview, O'Driscoll shared the challenges of curating the Heritage Collection, highlighting the delicate balance of aging whiskey to perfection without succumbing to the pitfalls of excessive aging. He articulated the guiding principle that, regardless of age, the whiskey must taste exceptional, steering clear of the notion that older necessarily equates to better.
A distinctive aspect of the Heritage Collection is its juxtaposition with the Parker's Heritage Collection, released in the fall. While the latter embraces innovation with varied barrel finishes, chars, and mashbills, the Heritage Collection stays true to classic, traditional expressions.
The 18-year-old Heritage Collection bourbon, bottled at a robust 120 proof, promises an unparalleled sensory journey. Initially boasting a proof above 150, the batch's transformation into an exquisite elixir is a testament to Heaven Hill's dedication to delivering a harmonious blend of flavors. Consumers can anticipate a suggested retail price of $299.99, a testament to the rarity and craftsmanship embodied in each 750ml bottle.
Accompanying the bottle, adorned in Heaven Hill's signature blue, is a box featuring the updated Heaven Hill Distillery seal. This seal, mirrored on other distinguished lines, provides consumers with essential information such as warehouse site location, production date, mashbill percentages, and other designations.
The tasting notes for this 18-year-old masterpiece paint a sensory masterpiece, with dried flowers, black tea, and old oak on the nose. The palate offers a symphony of vanilla and caramel sweetness, transitioning to notes of old leather, oak char, and lingering peppery spices and orange oil. The finish is described as dry and spicy, leaving a lasting impression on the palate.
In a month marked by exciting releases from Heaven Hill, including the heralded Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A124, the Heritage Collection 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey stands as a pinnacle of the distillery's commitment to excellence, tradition, and the artistry of aged spirits. As March approaches, enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike eagerly await the opportunity to savor the sophistication and richness encapsulated within each bottle of this exceptional bourbon.
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About Heaven Hill Distillery
Heaven Hill Distillery is one of the most prominent and historic American whiskey producers, situated in Bardstown, Kentucky. Founded in 1935, the distillery has a rich heritage and has played a crucial role in shaping the bourbon industry. The Shapira family, who still owns and operates the distillery today, established Heaven Hill shortly after the repeal of Prohibition.
The distillery has gained renown for its commitment to producing a diverse range of high-quality spirits, with a primary focus on bourbon and Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. Heaven Hill's portfolio includes well-known brands such as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Larceny, and Henry McKenna, among others. Each brand within the portfolio offers a unique flavor profile, showcasing the versatility of the distillery's production methods.
Evan Williams, one of Heaven Hill's flagship brands, is recognized for its accessibility and quality, making it a popular choice among bourbon enthusiasts. Elijah Craig, another key expression, is celebrated for its Small Batch and Single Barrel releases, emphasizing craftsmanship and attention to detail. Larceny, known for its wheated bourbon recipe, has also garnered a dedicated following.
Heaven Hill is renowned for its commitment to traditional bourbon-making techniques. The distillery produces its bourbons using a mash bill primarily composed of corn, along with rye and malted barley, and ages them in new charred oak barrels. The distillery operates some of the deepest aging warehouses in Kentucky, contributing to the maturation process of its whiskies.
Tragically, in 1996, a fire destroyed several Heaven Hill warehouses, resulting in the loss of a significant amount of aging whiskey. However, the distillery demonstrated resilience by rebuilding and continuing to thrive in the following years. Today, Heaven Hill Distillery stands as one of the largest independent, family-owned distilleries in the United States, upholding a legacy of quality and innovation in the bourbon industry.