This bottle was purchased at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, Kentucky. It is a barrel selection for the gift shop. According to the government regulations, finished whiskeys cannot have an age statement, but Heaven Hill has put plenty of information on the label telling us about this whiskey, but some of it does not add up correctly. They state that it is an 8-year-old wheated Bourbon, finished in a Cognac barrel for 21 months. Then they tell us the distillation date is 9/24/2003 and the bottling date is 2/29/2016. That is 12 years and 6 months, yet the time in the barrels is 9 years and 9 months. For this to work out, then the whiskey must have been stored in a stainless steel tank for 2 years, 9 months between barrels. Or maybe after the aging was completed. I find it very strange that they would put such a discrepancy on the label with no explanation. However, it is a very good whiskey and I applaud the amount of information they placed on the label.
They have bottled the whiskey at barrel proof of 126.4. Heaven Hill uses a 125 barrel entry proof so the proof has not increased by very much, indicating the middle floors of the warehouse. In fact, the label tells us that the barrel was stored in Warehouse 3 on Floor 6 on Tier 0/0. The barrel serial number is 44829-44835 and the Lot ID is 03124A. All very good information for the discerning consumer.
Heaven Hill Select Stock Finished in a Cognac Barrel
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Fruit-forward with raisins and berries and a hint of citrus – lemon zest, rich caramel, baking spices and oak.
Taste: Buttery caramel, fruit –raisins and grapes with some white pepper spice and oak tannins. When tasted with a dried cranberry the caramel becomes richer and the berries and raisin stronger, with oak tannins balancing the sweetness. Tasted with a pecan, the fruit becomes citrusy – lots of lemon zest and tart berries – raspberries and blackberries with oak tannins.
Finish: Very dry with oak and peppery spice. The dried cranberry makes the finish sweeter with the fruit notes balancing the oak tannins. The pecan brought out a cayenne pepper spiciness with the oak.
I have chosen a My Father #3 Crema cigar to pair with this whiskey. I find the smoke to have some dried fruit notes, vanilla and rich tobacco flavors that should complement this whiskey very well. The whiskey enhanced the vanilla notes in the smoke and added a little cedar spice. The smoke gave the whiskey a thicker mouthfeel and the berries became tart cherries and white pepper spice. An excellent pairing. The perfect after-dinner cigar and whiskey on the front porch on a warm evening.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller