Sheltering in place has led to a massive spike in booze sales across the United States a the days are now divided into “Coffee Hours” and “Alcohol Hours.” Being forcefully unemployed by the pandemic I’m unable to contribute to that spike and have had to reexamine my hoarding tendencies. My reluctance to open bottles, let alone finish them, has been overtaken by my belief that whiskey is meant to be enjoyed. And if not now, when?
So, join me as I work my way through my bar cart with the great Quarantine Bottle Kill of 2020.
First up is a relative newcomer: Heaven Hill Bottled In Bond 7 Year Old Bourbon. Not to be confused with the Heaven Hill Bottled In Bond 6 Year Old Bourbon which was only available in Kentucky and was discontinued in 2018. One year later this 7 Year hit shelves with an updated label, an extra year of age, and a boosted price tag.
I’ve made no qualms about Heaven Hill being one of my favorite distilleries but their lack of an eponymous bourbon certainly means they have much less name recognition as a distillery than say Jim Beam. The old Heaven Hill 6 Year was one of my favorite bottles to bring back from a Kentucky trip and at $12 was an absurd steal.
Now, what exactly does an extra year and a new label and bottle taste like?
NOSE: Chestnut, dusty leather, vanilla, and oak
PALETTE: Earthy with a strong oak presence. A dusting of baking spices and a hint of tobacco. There’s a slight woodsy quality to it with a surprisingly light punch for a bonded whiskey.
FINISH: Medium and dry with a touch of stone fruit and capped with the oak and vanilla from the nose.
This is quintessential Heaven Hill. In fact, if you told me this was the 6 Year Old bottle I would believe you. Which makes sense as it’s the exact same mashbill only a year older and released a year after the 6 Year was discontinued. You can do the math. And that’s my only real con with this bottle: the math.
$12 would be an absurd price for any quality Bourbon these days. However, at $40 it enters a very crowded field of more household names like Eagle Rare, Woodford Reserve, and Knob Creek. While this is solid bourbon I’d personally pick up a bottle of Elijah Craig from the same distillery for a lower price tag.
I am happy to see it on the shelves though if only to help spread the Heaven Hill name. Though if it was still at the old price point I might have been able to stock up for the quarantine instead of having to finish the bottle.