The resulting taste profile begins with an aroma of dried fruits and baking spices, with pipe tobacco notes developing after some time in the glass. A gentle entry is followed by an explosion of vanilla and floral flavor with traces of pepper and clove. After a slow and warming build up, the finish is incredibly long, yet very soft.Heaven HillClick to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.
Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Bourbon
- DISTILLER: Old Heaven Hill Springs Distillery (DSP KY-31)
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed
- AGE: 27 Years
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 94.7 proof (47.35% ABV) – natural barrel proof of the blended barrels that make up this release
- MSRP: $399
TASTE: Subtle Vanilla | Explosion of Oak | Pepper | Clove
FINISH: Nice warm surge followed by a long subtle finish with just a hint of oak and baking spices.
SHARE WITH: This is a complex bourbon and not for beginners. Share it with those that know their bourbon and enjoy a whiskey with a complex personality.
WORTH THE PRICE: At $399 this is a collector’s whiskey. If you’re a serious collector and enjoy older whiskey this one is a no brainer.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Since less than 3,000 bottles are being released most people won’t have a chance to purchase a bottle so trying in a bar might be their only opportunity to experience it. If you’re serious about your whiskey, and you enjoy bourbons with a strong oak profile, you’ll definitely want to invest in a pour at your favorite bar if you’re unable to buy your very own bottle.
OVERALL: If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, it won’t be a surprise when I tell you that I’m not a fan of bourbons with a massive oak profile. So when my sample of Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Bourbon arrived, I was a little hesitant to dive in and sample it. However, once I did, I found myself face-to-face with a beautifully complicated yet extremely frustrating whiskey.
Beautiful in that the nose on this bourbon is magical. Every time I took a whiff I was hit with new aromas that appeared to be shifting as the whiskey slowly opened up over a span of 10 minutes. I enjoyed the progression of aromas, but it did make it hard to try and nail down just a handful to report in my review. Ultimately there was a buttery undertone that was consistent throughout my nosing that was punctuated by floral notes and baking spices. Eventually leather emerged on the nose but was quickly bullied into submission by what I describe as “sweet old oak.” It’s the sweet aroma you get from oak that’s been sitting around for years with some moisture in the wood. Curious enough, all these aromas combined could have easily led someone to declare this a dusty bourbon if they had been nosing it blindly.
And now for the frustration. The first sip entered my mouth with a gentle hint of vanilla but was rudely pushed aside by an explosion of oak. What followed was a mix of pepper, cloves, and tannic oak. This was not the flavor profile I was expecting from such a complex nose. Talk about being frustrated and disappointed. I had really hoped the aroma complexity would translate over to the palate, but it was not to be. That all said, I wouldn’t call it over-oaked from a technical perspective (meaning it’s still drinkable). It’s just too oaky for my palate. I have no doubt that many of you will love it if massive oak is your thing. But even then, I would have liked to see more flavor notes balanced with the oak, pepper, and cloves. More dimension is what I wanted to experience.
Heaven Hill did a good thing by bringing an exceptionally mature bourbon to market and keeping it at barrel proof for fans to enjoy. At 27 years it’s a rare age statement (for good reason), and for that reason alone it’s sure to be a popular addition to red-hot bourbon market. I just hope that fans of well-aged and oaky bourbon have a chance to purchase a bottle before all the collectors and flippers clear the shelves only for the bourbon to sit unopened for another 27 years. A guy can dream, right?
Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Bourbon Background Info
LESS THAN 3,000 BOTTLES OF PRE-FIRE BOURBON AVAILABLE IN ONE-TIME RELEASE
Heaven Hill Distillery announced today the release of Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a rare bottling produced at Old Heaven Hill Springs Distillery before it was destroyed by fire in 1996. Only 41 barrels produced in 1989 and 1990 passed taste testing for inclusion in this limited release.
“As stewards of the Bourbon movement we take pride in the perseverance that is a hallmark of Heaven Hill’s 83-year history,” said President Max L. Shapira. “We remain committed to an enduring legacy of quality and patience, just as we have since 1935.”
Heaven Hill Barrel Proof Small Batch Bourbon, selected from limited remaining stocks of pre-fire barrels, has been closely monitored and allowed to age for an astounding 27 years. All but five of the barrels in this small batch were aged on the first and second floors, where increased humidity and evaporation caused the proof to drop. When all 41 barrels were mingled for bottling, the natural barrel proof was an unusually low 94.7 proof (47.35% abv).
The resulting taste profile begins with an aroma of dried fruits and baking spices, with pipe tobacco notes developing after some time in the glass. A gentle entry is followed by an explosion of vanilla and floral flavor with traces of pepper and clove. After a slow and warming build up, the finish is incredibly long, yet very soft.
This ultra-premium Bourbon will be released in an elegant and tall 750ml bottle placed in a custom wooden box bearing two H’s on each side signifying the Heaven Hill name. The bottle is secured in the box with magnetic closure and sits in a blue satin-lined base. The distiller’s notes label features hand-written bottle number, distiller tasting notes, and DSP KY-31, denoting the Old Heaven Hill Springs Distillery.
WHERE TO BUY
The one-time release of Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof Small Batch Bourbon will begin shipping in late fall 2018 to limited markets.
Disclaimer: Heaven Hill provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.