Whiskey Name: Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Whiskey Type: Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon
Release Date: General release.
Age: 6 years
Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley
Introduction/Background: What kind of whiskey can $12 buy you in the UK? Absolutely no whisky whatsoever in Scotland, as a result of minimum pricing, and a bottom shelf bottle of rancid, 5th fill, sub-mouthwash abomination anywhere else.
But the good citizens of Kentucky can buy a bottle of 6-years-matured, 50% ABV Heaven Hill bourbon. Doesn’t it just make you sick?
This pour was introduced to the BBS by the great bourbon writer and historian Michael Veach, when he came to visit London at the start of November. He’d generously brought along a selection of bottles not available on UK soil, and described this one as the best value in bourbon.
I had a taste at the time, but it wasn’t really a note-taking occasion, so I couldn’t scribble anything down. Happily BBS member Lee provided me a sample along with the 8 year old Whisky Broker expression we covered yesterday.
So how much bourbon does $12 buy you?
Appearance: A ruddy russet.
Nose: Far richer and lusher than the Whisky Broker. Yes, the chunky Heaven Hill grain comes through, but it’s not youthful, and it’s balanced by unctuous caramel and fudge as well as the bright and vibrant spice of new oak. Nothing unique or extreme, but it’s very tasty stuff.
Mouth: The story is the same here. More wholemeal; good, rich spirit counterbalanced by the caramel and cinnamon influence of the cask. A flutter of tropical fruit and milk chocolate too, as well s peanut brittle and cola. Lots of depth for the age.
Finish: Spices arrive with greater firmness.
Value for Money: Staggeringly good.
Summary: Not fair. Not fair, not fair, not fair. If this were in Britain I would recommend it to all of my friends, and buying Christmas presents would be a lot easier. (And cheaper). Blows away not only everything we get for £20 or under, but everything we get for under £30 too.
No, it’s not reinventing the flavour wheel, and long-standing bourbon sippers won’t uncover anything they’ve not experienced before, but that isn’t the point of this whiskey. You could give this to anyone in the world and they’d recognise that for under £10 it represents something seriously impressive and seriously tasty.
Puts the price you pay for craft whiskies into pretty brutal perspective. Puts the price you pay for pretty much anything into brutal perspective. If anyone is going anywhere near Kentucky any time soon, please bring me back a bottle. Or, better still, a case.
Overall Verdict: I’m with Michael. This is as good as whiskey value gets.
Thanks very much to Lee for providing the sample!