Introducing our 18-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Good things come to those who wait. It’s a truth every Whiskey fan knows, and we’re certainly fans of the saying here at Heaven Hill Distillery. We’ve been Lifting Spirits since 1935—so we’re always drawing inspiration for our future from the traditions of our past.

And there is no tradition more central to Whiskey than aging. Our team looks ahead every day when they barrel Whiskey, leaving it to mature for several years. It’s only much later that they’re able to see those efforts come to fruition, when we pull barrels from our rickhouses for bottling. This holds especially true for our latest release of the Heaven Hill Heritage Collection: an 18-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


We’re proud to be stewards of American Whiskey traditions, and this collection is a prime example of why. Each spring, we release a new edition featuring an extra-aged, ultra-premium Straight American Whiskey highlighting one of our six traditional mashbills. We pull from our oldest barrels, searching for the flavor profiles that are just right for each different release.

“The Heaven Hill Heritage Collection is our opportunity to showcase some of the oldest stock in Heaven Hill Distillery’s incredible inventory of aging Whiskey,” says Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll. “We pride ourselves on having the necessary patience to age, taste, re-taste and select our Whiskey at the moment we feel it is perfectly matured. This 18-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey epitomizes what consumers have come to expect from the highest quality of Heaven Hill’s releases.”


For added transparency, every bottle in the Heaven Hill Heritage Collection bears a label that shares in-depth liquid and production information. This year’s release features our traditional Bourbon mashbill comprised of 78% corn, 12% malted barley and 10% rye. Production details include the Distilled Spirits Plant (D.S.P.) numbers for our distillery and our bottling plant in Bardstown: D.S.P. KY-1 and D.S.P. KY-31, respectively.


Those lucky enough to try a pour of this release can expect a subtle nose of dried flowers, black tea and old oak alongside hints of toasted almond. A testament to its age, the initial notes on the palate include vanilla and caramel sweetness up front, followed by old leather and a note of oak char. Lingering peppery spices and orange oil add to the depth and complexity of this spirit. The finish is long, warm and dry with large amounts of spice.


For this release, we decided to keep the liquid non-chill filtered, which means we haven’t filtered out the fatty acids, esters and proteins from the Whiskey.

These are harmless byproducts of distilling and aging that usually remain invisible in Whiskey—until it chills. The colder temperatures can cause the fatty acid, ester and protein molecules to fall out of solution and connect in enough concentration to become visible. This is a process known as flocking. You can learn more about chill and non-chill filtering here.


The 133 barrels used for the 2024 Heaven Hill Heritage Collection release aged in rickhouse 1I at our Bernheim Distillery.

This year’s release consists of 133 barrels produced in December 2005. They aged on the third floor of rickhouse 1I, at our Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

“All the windows on the first four floors of rickhouse 1I are bricked up,” Alex Kline, rickhouse supervisor, says. “During Prohibition, people would try to break the windows to break in, and we’ve kept them that way today.”

This is more than just a nod to Whiskey history, though. The lack of windows actually helps insulate the lower floors, which keeps them cooler, though they still have access to plenty of airflow from the windows on the upper floors. “We didn’t see as much angel’s share in these barrels,” Alex says, “which means we could age them for even longer without losing as much Whiskey.”

Angel’s share is industry-speak for the Whiskey that evaporates over time, especially in hot climates. Because these barrels aged on a lower floor they didn’t experience as much evaporation, and the liquid was able to continue aging in order to become an 18-year-old Whiskey. We’ve explored the science behind the aging process here if you’d like to learn more about this integral part of Whiskey-making.


Our largest four brick rickhouses can each hold 75,000 barrels of Whiskey at a time.

Bernheim features seven brick rickhouses, a perceived rarity in the Whiskey world, says Alex. “When you think of rickhouses, you think of the wooden ones first, and then maybe the metal ones. People don’t usually think of brick at all,” he says. “They’re different situations, but our Whiskey ages just as well in the brick rickhouses as they do in wooden. We produce extremely high quality Whiskey at Bernheim, which we’re always proud to share with everyone.”


Before becoming the rickhouse supervisor at the Bernheim Distillery, Alex Kline rolled barrels with the Whiskey crew.

As the rickhouse supervisor, Alex is responsible for overseeing the Bernheim barrel team and managing the system where all the barrels are logged. When they’re tasked with pulling barrels, he’ll decide what to pull and where those barrels are located throughout the rickhouses.

At Bernheim, there are 18 people on the Whiskey crew. Together, they’re responsible for working as a team to keep the rickhouses running smoothly. From taking the barrels out of the rick to loading and operating the elevators, to rolling them down the line and more, “Each team member is a crucial part of our daily operations,” says Alex. “If even one person is missing, we feel it.” This close-knit team works hard day-in and day-out in order to produce the Whiskey we love—including our Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 2024 release.

“It’s pretty special,” he says about pulling this edition. “We have some guys on the crew who put these exact barrels away 18 years ago in December 2005. And now, they pulled them out for this bottling. It’s pretty incredible that they’ve been here with the barrels this whole time.”


The Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 750ml bottle is accompanied by a premium box and a label featuring in-depth liquid and production information, such as warehouse site location, production date, mashbill percentages and other designations. These bottles will be available in limited quantities at select locations across the U.S. and internationally.

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