I stumbled across this bottle at North Oaks Wine & Spirits last week and was excited the moment I saw it. I knew that the most recent release, Batch #7, had come out earlier in the year and that it was at a “low” proof of only 128. Most of the reviews I had seen of the 7th release were pretty underwhelming so I almost passed on this bottle by until I saw it was marked as 139.8 proof. I quickly nerded out and headed over to the Bourbonr blog where they do a fantastic job of documenting expressions like this and cataloging each release, but did not see it listed on the ECBP Cheat Sheet.
I decided to go ahead and pick up the bottle even though I wasn’t completely sure what it was as I couldn’t find anything referencing an 8th release. A quick instagram post solved the mystery when the nice guys at Breaking Bourbon verified it as Batch #8.
Ok, enough about all that jazz, lets see if it’s good.
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Heaven Hill Bernheim distillery
Mashbill: 75% corn/12% rye/13% barely
ABV: 69.9% (139.8 proof)
Age: 12 years
Color: Deep Copper
Nose: Rich and complex. There’s some cut grass in there, burnt sugar, and tons of maple syrup and oak. This stuff doesn’t sniff anywhere close to the proof that it really is. There is no burn, just rich, dark, delicious smells for your nose to enjoy.
Taste: You don’t need to cut this. It’s super nice and silky just the way it is. It explodes with vanilla right off the bat then is quickly balanced out almost perfectly by the dry wood from that 12 years in the barrel. The high proof provides some really great heat but leaves plenty of room for the more subtle notes of caramel and orange zest to shine.
Finish: The finish is long and dry. REAL long and dry. Full of oak and some peppery spice. Eventually the sweetness comes back a little at the end of the finish to leave you with a pretty damn good experience.
Overall: This is some very good stuff. After my initial evaluation I threw a couple of drops of water up inside the glass and was surprised at what happened. The addition of a little bit of water really brought out a ton of rye spice…almost too much, I prefer this stuff straight up.