As leaders in the American Whiskey industry, our team is constantly thinking about what fans are going to enjoy years in advance. And in the world of ultra-premium Whiskeys, exciting new releases are often more than a decade in the making. Take our latest Parker’s Heritage Collection release: a 10-Year-Old Cask Strength Rye Whiskey.
Released every fall, the Parker’s Heritage Collection is a hallmark lineup of premium Whiskey exploration. The 17th edition is no exception, so join us as we uncover the story behind the bottle.
A TOTAL OF 142 BARRELS MAKE UP THIS BOTTLING
The liquid was barreled in either August, October or December of 2012 before being left to age on the first floor of Rickhouses H1 and H2, the fifth floor of Rickhouse FF, the third and seventh floors of Rickhouse BB, and finally, the second floor of Rickhouse DD.
Barrels age much differently based on where they are placed in the rickhouse, as well as the temperature and humidity fluctuations they undergo as the seasons change. It’s the job of our master distiller, expert tasters and rickhouse teams to know where the right barrels are aging. We’ve covered this in-depth if you’d like to learn more about the science behind the flavor, color, character and aroma that our barrels impart to our spirits.
WE’VE BOTTLED IT AT CASK STRENGTH
Straight from the barrel to the bottle to your glass, this edition is bottled at 128.8 proof to showcase its bold character and preserve all the rich, natural flavors of the aging process, without compromise. This means you get to enjoy it in the same way our master distiller and tasting team first sampled it.
Speaking of the tasting team, Tawnie Gootee, our master taster, has some insight on the decision to release this edition at cask strength. “Remember that not every barrel is the same proof,” she says. “We put them all together and got the proof of 128.8. Some people will think, ‘boy, that’s going to be hot,’ but I am telling you, it’s smooth, it’s a joy, it’s a good one.”
THIS RELEASE WAS NOT CHILL FILTERED
In yet another way this edition is as close as possible to the liquid being poured straight from the barrel, the fatty acids, esters and proteins haven’t been filtered out.
These harmless byproducts of distilling and aging remain invisible in a Whiskey—until it gets cold. If you were to chill your bottle down, you might see flocking. This occurs when the fatty acid, protein and ester molecules fall out of solution and connect in such numbers that they become visible in Whiskey. When the Whiskey warms, the flock disappears. You can read more about different filtration methods in this blog post.
THE EXPERT TASTING OVERVIEW
As our master taster, Tawnie relies on 33 years of expertise every time she’s asked to give her opinion on a sample. With decades of Whiskey knowledge committed to memory, her palate is instrumental in shaping not only our standard and premium brands, but also the special releases like the Parker’s Heritage Collection.
Speaking on the latest edition, Tawnie says that unlike a younger Rye Whiskey, where you can taste some of the rye grain, this 10-year-old Whiskey has a richness with flavors that “hug around the rye.” In her opinion, that’s what makes the 17th edition so good.
“With this edition, you’re getting the closest you can get to experiencing this Rye coming straight out of the barrel,” she says. “We have not added water to it. You’re getting it straight—at cask strength—and when I tasted it, well, I thought if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on it, you’re getting a prize. You’ll wish you had two of them: one to save and one to drink.”
- Color: Cherrywood
- Nose: Spice-forward with a rich, fruity sweetness
- Taste: Black cherries mixed with honey, cinnamon and cloves
- Finish: Plentiful spice with notes of cherries
THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND RYE WHISKEY RELEASED IN THE COLLECTION
It is also one of the longest aged Ryes in our portfolio. Comprised of our traditional Rye Whiskey mashbill of 51% rye, 35% corn and 14% malted barley, the sweet, spicy taste and distinctive character of this style of Whiskey earns consistently high praise from critics and connoisseurs alike.
What some may not know is that while Bourbon is known as “America’s Native Spirit,” Rye Whiskey is the true original. In the early 19th century, an embargo on trade with the French and British territories further hurt the already weakened rum market, and American Whiskey was there to fill the gap. Scot-Irish immigrants who had settled around Maryland and Pennsylvania had brought barley and a knowledge of distillation with them. Since rye was the primary grain grown in the region, along with some corn, distillers in this area became the premiere producers of Rye Whiskey.
By the late 19th century, however, widespread and rapid production of corn saw Bourbon exceed Rye’s popularity. Its decline would continue unabated for roughly 150 years before bartenders began reviving pre-Prohibition Rye Whiskey cocktails.
A PORTION OF PROCEEDS FROM EACH BOTTLE WILL BE DONATED TO THE ALS ASSOCIATION
This is our way to honor Parker Beam, master distiller emeritus. Parker was 5 years old when his father, Earl Beam, became master distiller at Heaven Hill Distillery in 1946. Parker learned distilling first by watching Earl and later by scrubbing fermenters, washing windows and building rickhouses. Parker would officially join our team in 1960, and in 1975, he took over the master distiller role after Earl’s retirement.
Parker spent 56 years with us, and during this time, he demonstrated a rare ability to adjust constantly to drastic industry changes that spanned decades.
In 2010, Parker was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Since 2013, proceeds from sales of the Parker’s Heritage Collection have raised more than $1.2 million dollars toward ALS research and patient care. With this edition, we will again contribute a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold to the ALS Association.
“Keeping Parker’s legacy alive through this ultra-premium offering is something we’re very dedicated to at Heaven Hill Distillery,” says Susan Wahl, vice president of American Whiskey. “Parker laid the groundwork for this series, and we believe this cask strength Rye release is one that would make him proud.”
The Parker’s Heritage Collection is named in honor of our sixth generation master distiller, Parker Beam. In his five decades at Heaven Hill Distillery, he created a lasting legacy.
AS WITH ALL EDITIONS, QUANTITIES ARE LIMITED
Packaged in the same upscale 750ml bottle as the previous editions, but with an emerald-colored label, the latest Parker’s Heritage Collection is available in limited quantities across the U.S.