Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Heaven Hill Bottled-In-Bond 7 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $45
- 100 Proof
- 7 years
- Kentucky

I don't ever really hearken back to the days of yore when it comes to comparing whiskey prices or availability to years past. Quite frankly, I've really only been drinking bourbon for going on five years now, so I started paying attention to such things right around the time that the boom began.

That being said, on my first trip to Kentucky, of course I made it a point to hit up liquor stores for those bottles that I simply couldn't find in Illinois, and I grabbed a bottle of Heaven Hill 6 year Bottled-In-Bond - at a mere $12.50.  A couple years later when I went back, I muled back 6 bottles just to give away to friends, having found them at only $11.00 a bottle. One of those friends still to this day remembers that as one of his favorite whiskeys ever.

But, of course the point of all of this is that those days are gone, and now Heaven Hill has released an older version of the same bourbon, older by one year, and at a price of $45.00.  Principal makes me not want to spend the money, but at the same time, my rational brain tells me that for a good whiskey, $45.00 is still a very easy-to-swallow price given today's market, particularly if the whiskey is good. And so this past Friday I found myself bringing a bottle home.

The nose is certainly on the traditional side, as the first things I noticed were toffee and cinnamon. It had a certain richness to it, like raisin and other dark fruits, perhaps plum. There was also a bit of a pastry or sweet bread note, reminding me a lot of cinnamon raisin bread. I even got some cherry notes, along the lines of a cherry pie filling - sweet and sticky.

The flavor on this whiskey was great. In fact, it was far better than I remember the 6-year being. I immediately got notes that reminded me of creme brulee -- sweet milk with some caramel approaching a burnt sugar note. There was also a bunch of vanilla and even some dark chocolate to provide some balancing bitterness to everything.

Heavy throughout each sip, though, from front to back, was a constant brown sugar note. If it weren't for all those other dessert-like notes I was getting, I'd say it was a brown sugar bomb. That would imply that that's all that I got, and that's not the case. But, it was certainly the strongest note.

Overall, this was a very rich and very delicious whiskey, offering rich dark fruit notes, sweet caramel notes, balancing bitter notes of dark chocolate and even tannins from the wood, and vanilla and brown sugar throughout. While I expected a very good whiskey, I really didn't expect this much flavor, and I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised.  Days of yore be damned -- the market is what it is now, and this bourbon was worth every penny (and it was gone within a weekend, if that's any indicator of just how good it is).

Grade: A

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