Each year, Whisky Advocate magazine releases its renowned and highly anticipated Top 20 list. These are the whiskeys deemed worthy of your attention.
We’re proud to say that in 2020, Heaven Hill Distillery earned two spots on the list—including the top prize. Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon was named Whisky Advocate’s “Whisky of the Year.” Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey was also named #7 in the lineup. And it’s not the first time we’ve had a good showing. Both of these products join previous winners Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, named the 2017 “Whisky of the Year,” and Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon, which earned the #4 in 2019.
The list is chosen from a collection of the highest-rated whiskeys nominated by the Buying Guide reviewers, and ranked based on quality, value and availability. It includes great values that might otherwise be overlooked, whiskeys that are best-in-class for their style, and highly accomplished bottles.
For everyone at Heaven Hill Distillery, our latest win was especially exciting as it demonstrates Heaven Hill’s top ten recognition for four unique whiskey expressions made with three different mashbills since 2017: our traditional Bourbon mashbill made with rye, our wheated Bourbon and our Rye Whiskey mashbill. It’s an honor to be recognized for exceptional consistency across our diverse portfolio of American Whiskeys.
Here’s a closer look at our award-winning portfolio.
LARCENY BARREL PROOF BOURBON (B520): 2020 “WHISKY OF THE YEAR”
Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon launched in January 2020 as the first line extension for the brand, offering whiskey fans an opportunity to taste Larceny as Heaven Hill’s Master Distiller does—straight out of the barrel. Bottled at full barrel strength, it showcases a truly bold character, richness and depth of flavor from the years of interaction with the barrel’s charred and caramelized oak sugars.
Whisky Advocate noted that, “our tasters were amazed at how this bold whiskey stood proud. It is a mouth-filling, deeply satisfying whiskey, amazingly palatable even at full proof, that will delight many drinkers at a great price—virtues we can all agree on.” You can read more here.
And for even more, check out Episode 13 of our Tales from the Hill podcast, “The Whiskey that Stole the Show.” Larceny Barrel Proof is the first wheated Bourbon to ever receive the “Whisky of the Year” title. To celebrate this historic win, we dive deep into the Larceny vault to discover the folklore of John E. Fitzgerald, details on how it’s crafted from our Master Distiller and even inspiration on how to best enjoy Larceny Barrel Proof.
ELIJAH CRAIG STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY: 2020 TOP TEN WHISKY
This extraordinary extra-aged Rye Whiskey is the first to carry the name of Elijah Craig—the entrepreneur and distiller who is credited with being the first to age his American Whiskey in charred oak barrels to make Bourbon. Elijah’s pioneering spirit and commitment to craft is on full display with this Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which is produced from barrels specifically selected by our distillers.
According to Whisky Advocate’s profile “this rye delivers powerful flavors that feel excitingly untamed, and will impress bourbon and rye lovers alike.” You can read more and watch the full reveal on Whisky Advocate’s website.
HEAVEN HILL BOTTLED-IN-BOND BOURBON: 2019 #4 TOP WHISKY
This Kentucky Bourbon pays tribute to the earliest days of our history when in 1939 we released Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond. The namesake brand quickly became the number-one-selling Bourbon whiskey in the state of Kentucky. Still today, the craftsmanship poured into this bottle by the same founding family meets the exacting standards first set forth in the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897.
On Whisky Advocate’s website, it’s described as “well-integrated big oak, sweetness, and spice combine to create grace, power, and length. This is pure bourbon bliss, at a very approachable price.” Read the full profile here.
ELIJAH CRAIG BARREL PROOF (B517): 2017 “WHISKY OF THE YEAR”
At full barrel proof, you can enjoy Elijah Craig much the same way our Master Distillers do when they sample straight from the barrel in our Kentucky rickhouses. Uncut, straight from the barrel without chill filtering, the nose, taste and finish created by 12 years of aging are preserved in their simplest form.
Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is an uncut Small Batch of 12-year-old Bourbon bottled straight from the barrel. The variance in proof from batch to batch presents a unique opportunity to explore the impact of the angel’s share and the resulting proof in a small batch of barrels.
Whisky Advocate’s tasters were “amazed at how this bold whiskey stood proud. It is a mouth-filling, deeply satisfying whiskey, amazingly palatable even at full proof, that will delight many drinkers at a great price—virtues we can all agree on.” For the full profile, you can read more here.