Parker’s Heritage Will Be Neat and Wheat
By Justin Thompson
The country’s largest independent family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer, Heaven Hill, announced the 2014 limited edition release of the Parker’s Heritage Collection. Heaven Hill, who holds the world’s second largest inventory of aging American Whiskey, will be shipping the rarity into selected markets across the country beginning in mid-September and it will hit retail shelves in September and October. The annual release of the Parker’s Heritage Collection bottling, of which this represents the 8th in the series, is always highly anticipated by whiskey lovers worldwide and the bottlings are some of the most lauded and coveted releases of the year.
This year, for the first time, Heaven Hill will be using an American Straight Whiskey style other than Bourbon for the Parker’s Heritage Collection release. The 2014 edition will feature 13-year-old straight wheat whiskey, bottled at cask strength and non-chill filtered. The barrels used for this year’s offering were from the very first run of what later would become Bernheim Original Straight Wheat Whiskey. With a minimum of 51% soft winter wheat in the mashbill or grain recipe, Bernheim the only straight wheat whiskey produced by a major American distiller and has been available since 2005. For this reason, this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection release has been dubbed “Original Batch Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey”.
The release will be comprised of two small batch dumps, the first of which will be bottled at a robust 127.4° proof or 63.7% alcohol by volume. The cask strength and lack of chill filtering mean the whiskey is bottled much as it came out of the barrel after 13 years of aging on the top floors of Rickhouse Y on the Heaven Hill property in Bardstown. Heaven Hill announced in June that they were repackaging the Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey to add a 7 year age statement, but the additional 6 years of maturation gives the Parker’s Heritage Collection Original Batch Wheat Whiskey even greater complexity and depth. The soft, biscuity profile of Bernheim is tempered with additional oak and char notes, and the finish is long and spicy.
Heaven Hill Master Distiller Emeritus Parker Beam, for whom the acclaimed series is named, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) several years ago. Last year’s edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection, called the “Promise of Hope” release, raised over $300,000 for the ALS Association’s Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund through a $20 per bottle contribution made by Heaven Hill. Heaven Hill will continue with this cause-related campaign, and will contribute $5 from the average national retail cost of $89.99 for every 750ml bottle sold of this year’s “Original Batch” release to ALS research and treatment. With every past edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection selling out of Heaven Hill’s warehouses, the company expects to generate an additional $65,000 to battle ALS through this year’s edition, which is not as broad a release as last year’s “Promise of Hope” bottling.
This year’s release of Parker’s Heritage Collection promises to be a worthy successor to the previous seven releases, which, having won multiple awards from Whisky Advocate magazine, Whisky Magazine and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, stand as some of the most critically lauded American Whiskeys in recent memory. Past bottlings have won awards ranging from “Best North American Whiskey” to “American Whiskey of the Year” to “Best of Show, Brown Spirits.” As a result, the Parker’s Heritage Collection releases have become some of the most anticipated and sought after bottlings of every new year.
Packaged in the same upscale 750ml bottle as the previous six editions but with a buff colored label, the Parker’s Heritage Collection Original Batch Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey bottling reflects the care and craftsmanship of its contents. Available in a three bottle case, it will be featured on the shelves and back bars of the nation’s finest spirits retailers and on-premise operators starting in September. With the ever increasing interest in American Whiskeys, especially ultra-premium bottlings, consumers will have to act quickly to secure a sample of the rarity.
“American Whiskey connoisseurs have every year come to eagerly anticipate the announcement and introduction of the new Parker’s Heritage Collection release”, noted Susan Wahl, Senior Brand Manager for Whiskeys at Heaven Hill Distilleries. “With the additional interest of an extra aged wheat whiskey, the cause-related contributions to ALS treatment and all the attention the Ice Bucket Challenge has focused on it, we anticipate this year’s Parker’s Heritage Collection Original Batch Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey to be another highly regarded release.”
2014 Fall Bourbon Releases
>>Buffalo Antique Collection
>>Maker’s Cask Strength
>> Elijah Craig 23-Year Old Single Barrel
>> Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch
>> Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon
>> Parker’s Heritage Collection
>> Angel’s Envy Cask Strength
>> Jefferson’s The Manhattan Barrel Aged Cocktail
>> Jim Beam Quarter Cask & Harvest
>> Michter’s Toasted Barrel