Parker’s Heritage Collection First Edition

Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 1996 vintage
64.8% ABV
Limited Release
$80 to $90

What The Distillery Says:
Parker’s Heritage Collection is a tribute to sixth generation Master Distiller, Parker Beam, for his 45+ years of service to the distilling industry. Hand-selected by Park himself, this first edition has been aging in oak barrels since 1996 and has been drawn from the barrel at cask strength proof. This distinctive style of American Whiskey offers a truly extraordinary bourbon experience. – Best enjoyed with a splash of water.

What Richard Says:
Nose: Wild berry sweetness and caramel come through more than I would expect at this proof. With water I get coconut oil and melon fruit rind with a subtle hint of citrus.
Palate: It opens up with water to a lighter floral bourbon with hints of ripe fruit and licorice.
Finish: Water is a must, at which point this goes down nice and long. It’s very mellow with traces of polished oak and citrus.
Comments: This is not Stagg and at this proof this bourbon really needs a sizeable does of water. There were three different bourbons bottled in this collection for the first release and all are indistinguishable from the packaging except for the different proofs. This one was generally considered the less of the three. I haven’t had the others but this does stand out. However, I would expect more at this price point.
Rating: Stands Out

What Matt Says:
Nose: At first there are the standard notes you would expect from a bourbon (vanilla, caramel, oak).  Just under the standard fare, there is a strong note of apple cider sediment.
Palate: Warming and oily with notes of charred oak, caramel, vanilla and cloves.
Finish: Oak, oak, and more oak.
Comments: Maybe it’s because this was my second dram of the night, but I did not require the amount of water Richard suggests.  I found this one to be much more enjoyable at full strength.  There is a warming velvet complexity that collapses quite a bit with water.  He is right about one thing.  George T. Stagg this is not.  I’ve tried a few of the Heritage Collection bottlings and this is not my favorite.  A little above average, but only a little.
Rating:  Stands Out

Overall Rating:  Stands Out