2018 was a great year for bourbon hunting, so to ring in the new year I decided to break into my top shelf cabinet and sample some of my best finds from the past year. Not surprisingly, I immediately noticed this beautiful decanter from Heaven Hill sporting a 14 year age statement.
Heaven Hill’s bottled in bond series began a few years ago and bottles are released biannually at the Heaven Hill distillery. To be designated as a bottled in bond bourbon, the bourbon must be the product of one distillation season by one distiller at one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least 4 years, and it must be bottled at 100 proof.
The mashbill for this bourbon consists of 75% corn, 20% wheat, and 5% malted barley. This bottled in bond bourbon was distilled in 2003 and aged for 14 years.
This bottle is only available in limited quantities at the Heaven Hill distillery and retails for $175. Recently, I have seen prices online as high as $500!
Appearance – light copper.
Nose – the nose on this bourbon is very soft with light alcohol, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and light oak. Very light butterscotch and roasted peanut started to develop throughout the pour. A few drops of water brought out some additional nuttiness and some sweetness of dried fruit.
Palate – this bourbon is also extremely soft on the palate, but it is thick and oily, and ultimately leaves a nice mouthfeel. Initially, I didn’t think this was a particularly bold bourbon but I was surprised by how the flavors really developed quickly. There is some initial barrel spice that strengthens throughout the sip, along with the sweetness of brown sugar, light butterscotch, and dried fruit. The same notes of roasted peanut also follow through on the palate. All of these flavors develop and really fit together nicely, culminating in a very flavorful pour.
Finish – the finish is long and relatively smooth. The barrel spice dissipates quite quickly, leaving a slight bitterness along with sweet notes of vanilla, raisins, oak, and cinnamon roasted peanuts. As I continued to sip this bourbon the nutty notes really developed and dominated the finish.
Overall– this 14-year BIB bourbon from Heaven Hill is absolutely beautiful to look at and the juice in the bottle does not disappoint. I thought this bourbon was somewhat deceptive as it initially did not provide as much flavor as I expected. However, after spending some time with it I really appreciated all of the complex flavors that eventually came out. I will definitely come back to this bottle in a few months to see what some additional time will do for this bourbon.