Sunday, June 23, 2024

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 17 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $300
- 118.2 Proof
- 17 Years
- Kentucky

I'm not really sure where to start with this post. This is a "big" bottle. This is one of those bottles that's big in proof, big in age, pretty much guaranteed to be big in flavor, and certainly big in price. In fact, I was offered a chance to buy this bottle, and that price tag really had me on the fence, despite how much I knew I wanted this bottle. In the end, my heart overruled my wallet.

But, I have no regrets.  This is a fun bottle.  It was fun to drink, and, more importantly, it was fun to share. This was one of those bottles that people immediately gravitated to at tastings, and everyone wanted to try. I've got some pretty good memories associated with this bottle and enjoying some really good times with good friends, even down to the last two pours which I saved to make sure I shared with good company.

The nose seemed to lead with an oaky note, that had me worried at first that the age had gotten the best of this bourbon. But, that was quickly followed by a delicious smelling milk chocolate note as well as some cinnamon. It combined to create this sort of chocolate hazelnut note, not unlike Nutella. Rich caramel and vanilla seemed to be floating around in the background, and just from the nose you could tell this was going to be something delicious.

My first impression from my first sip was that this was kind of like a barrel strength Elijah Craig 18, which happens to be one of my favorite pours. So, this was right up my alley from the start. Similar to the nose, the oak notes hit right up front. But they quickly gave way to all the other flavors happening within this bottle.

I got a distinct dark cherry note, like Amarena cherries, along with a rich, dark caramel note. Together it was rich, sweet and decadent.  The cinnamon note was there as well, to give it just a bit of spice and, along with the oak notes, keep it from ever getting too sweet.

It had heat to it, but the flavor was so good I didn't seem to be bothered by it one bit. That rich caramel seemed to coat my mouth, only to give way to a delicious and equally rich vanilla bean note. I did get a chocolate note as well, but it wasn't the milk chocolate from the nose, but more of a dark chocolate flavor but without the dark chocolate bitterness. 

The great, viscous texture provided for a crazy long finish that was all toffee and dark cherry. It had me smacking my tongue to the roof of my mouth to the point that it drove my wife crazy. But I couldn't help but just sit there enjoying it. 

The price on this bottle is excessive, certainly. But this was an absolutely phenomenal bourbon, one I was not only happy I got to try, but one which I'm happy I got to share. 

Grade: A+

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