Bourbon Industry

Why whiskey collectors are on the hunt for these two special releases

Heaven Hill is releasing a very rare 27-year-old whiskey. What’s so special about it? It’s “pre-fire bourbon,” made before the company’s Bardstown distillery and seven rickhouses burned down in 1996.
Heaven Hill is releasing a very rare 27-year-old whiskey. What’s so special about it? It’s “pre-fire bourbon,” made before the company’s Bardstown distillery and seven rickhouses burned down in 1996.

Talk about your historic whiskeys: Heaven Hill, which lost its Bardstown distillery and seven rickhouses in a 1996 fire, is releasing a limited edition bourbon produced before that fire.

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The pre-fire bourbon has a suggested retail price of about $399, and it comes in a special custom wooden box with entwined HH on the side for Heaven Hill. Photo provided

The Heaven Hill 27-year-old Barrel Proof Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (that’s a mouthful of a name) is so rare there are fewer than 3,000 bottles available, according to Heaven Hill.

Only 41 barrel produced in 1989 and 1990 passed taste testing to be included in this limited release.

“As stewards of the bourbon movement we take pride in the perseverance that is a hallmark of Heaven Hill’s 83-year history,” said Max L. Shapira, in a release.

According to the distillery, the natural barrel proof is unusually low at 94.7 proof, and the taste profile is one of dried fruits and baking spices, pipe tobacco notes, an explosion of vanilla with floral flavor with traces of pepper and clove.

If you can find this special pre-fire bourbon, it will be in an elegant bottle in a custom wooden box.

And it will cost you: The suggested retail price is $399.

If you can’t find that one, maybe you can luck into the 2018 Parker’s Heritage Collection Limited Edition, which will hit stores in September. The coveted Parker’s Heritage releases are sought-after for their innovative whiskey and as a commemorative of the late master distiller Parker Beam, who used the releases to raise money for ALS research.

This year’s Parker’s Heritage is the 12th; it was aged for seven to eight years in the upper floors of rickhouse Q, then aged for four months in barrels that previously held French orange curacao liqueur. The bourbon was bottled at 110 proof.

The suggested retail price is about $90, with a portion of proceeds again going to ALS research.

A large portion of a bourbon barrel storage facility at Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown collapsed on June 22, 2018.

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