Parker's Heritage Collection 9th edition Malt Whiskey

We've previously reviewed Parker's Heritage Collection (PHC) 7th edition "Promise of Hope" Bourbon and PHC 8th edition Cask Strength Wheat Whiskey. We've been lucky to taste almost every PHC release between the bottles we own and nights at Jack Rose in D.C., Husk in Charleston, SC, Bourbon in Columbia, SC, McCormack's in Richmond, VA and The Crunkleton, in Chapel Hill, NC.

The 9th edition of Parker and Craig Beam's annual release is an 8-year-old, 108 proof malt whiskey distilled from a 65% malt and 35% corn mash and aged in new charred oak barrels. Odd? Very odd.

The rising tide of American malt whiskeys has been driven by Stranahan's, Balcones, and Westland, none of which are in Kentucky. Those smaller distilleries produce true single malt whiskeys and have dominated the category. Enter the KY mammoth Heaven Hill with the weird mash bill (and the weird flavor profile). Every whiskey geek I know was surprised by the malt whiskey release, as most were expecting a rye. 

PHC Malt Whiskey is an experimental batch of 141 barrels with a heavy dose of corn to sweeten it up. But as our friends at Breaking Bourbon wrote, "this is experimentation with a purpose." It's not an experiment that a self-proclaimed master distiller developed on a whim. It's a well-aged and intriguing whiskey. You can only applaud Heaven Hill for pushing the envelope with their most anticipated release of the year.

Parker's Heritage Collection "9th edition" Malt Whiskey

Heaven Hill Distillery
Aged 8 years
108 proof
$100 at Heaven Hill 

Color: Dark, beautiful bronze.

Nose: Surprisingly light on the nose. I get a fair dose of charred oak, corn flakes, powdered sugar, and some subtle sweet fruits. 

Tasting Notes: Eyebrow raise. The entrance is almost sour, likely a result of malt whiskey striking a bourbon seasoned tongue. The corn and new charred oak barrel influence come through with brown sugar, sharp cinnamon spice, and smoky char notes. There is nice, spicy finish that settles in the chest.   

Overall: B. This thing is half bourbon, half single malt/scotch-like. It has an oily quality and a decent burn which kept me guessing. It can only be described as unique and will likely see mixed reviews until it's all gone. Overall, I like it.

Peer reviews: