"This independent bourbon is very tasty, but also fairly simple. The nose benefits from water, although the palate dislikes it"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Heaven Hill distilleries was founded in 1935 predominantly by the Shapira family, which included the first master distiller Joseph L. Beam, whose family held the position of master distiller ever since. The company is currently the largest independent family-owned spirits producer from Kentucky. After a big fire in 1996 that largely destroyed the previous distillery and warehouses in at their original site in Bardstown, they purchased the Bernheim distillery in Louisville from Diageo in 1999. Nowadays all their spirit is produced in Louisville, which includes the Evan Williams and Elijah Craig bourbons. Heaven Hill is also one of the few bourbons that you can find among independent bottlers, like the one we will have today from the Dutch bottling company the Archives.
My impression is that the nose is surprisingly fresh for a bourbon. There is a hint of citrus rasp, and a clear smell of rye spices, rye bread, followed by bourbon sweetness with corn cobs and breakfast cereals. Moreover some beautiful black currant yams. Nevertheless, the whole is rather simple, but also of good quality. Water brings more spices, with pepper, aniseed, curcuma and maybe even curry, and it becomes drier. Some toasted bread, with yams or marmalade.
Sweetness and spices together in a balancing act. Accompanied by red fruits. It is slightly drying. With water it become slightly bitter in the aftertaste, in particular grapefruit and orange skin come forward. Toast with marmalade and fairly dry.
This independent bourbon is very tasty, but also fairly simple. The nose benefits from water, although the palate dislikes it. I think this is just missing some depth and extra weight compared to some of the bourbons from the standard range.
A sample of this was tasted at
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •