Mike Scalise

Mike Scalise

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In Search Of (ISO) Parker’s Heritage

Last Updated: 12/11/2018

Why an entire post dedicated to Parker’s Heritage?

Well, when I became interested in rare whiskeys in late 2016, I came across a website that recounted the top ten rare whiskeys of the world. On that list was Parker’s Heritage 8th edition (13 Year Wheat Whiskey) from 2014. It described its color, nose, palate, and finish so eloquently that I had to try it. The problem was that it was, well, a rare whiskey. Intrigued, I began to research more about the collection and became hooked. The story, the quality, the rarity all worked for me. So if you want to know about Parker’s Heritage and my experience, read on.

A little bit of history

The Parker’s Heritage Collection (PHC) comes from the Heaven Hill distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. It’s named after their late Master Distiller, Parker Beam. Parker was also the grandnephew of iconic bourbon figure Jim Beam. He was well-known and respected for his distilling knowledge and commitment to quality. In 2007, Heaven Hill introduced the Parker’s Heritage Collection. Each year, the company selects a special whiskey to be released in the name of Parker Beam. According to their website, “[t]he barrels selected for this series include Bourbon, rye and wheat whiskeys, among others, and are some of the finest and most diverse whiskeys ever produced. They are a fitting tribute to the expertise of Parker Beam.”

My journey

As I mentioned, I was fascinated by PHC and, because of its rarity and the fact that each year represents a completely different release, I had my work cut out for me to both sample and collect a bottle from all 11 editions (at the time of writing this). My primary goal was to try all of the editions, so I’ll take you through my experience in chronological order.

February 19, 2017

On February 19, 2017 a friend of mine (who is also a whiskey enthusiast) and I were hanging out at his house. We decided to drive to a couple local wine and spirits stores to acquire some new bottles of whiskey. We walked into a local store (one of the best–with a great owner) to find three bottles of PHC 9th edition (8 year malt) on the shelf. I couldn’t believe what I saw. It wasn’t the 13 Year Wheat Whiskey unicorn I had read about, but it was PHC nonetheless. I splurged and bought two bottles. I took the bottles back to my friend’s house, popped one open, and enjoyed my first pour of the collection.

Parker's Heritage 9th Ed. (8 Year Malt)

Parker’s Heritage 9th Ed. (8 Year Malt)

March 9, 2017

On the evening of March 9, 2017 I decided to visit a local bar known for having a great selection of whiskeys. When I arrived, I, with my fingers crossed, asked the bartender if they had the newest PHC edition–the 24 yr Bottled In Bond, which they did! Now, this is somewhat of a dimly-lit place, so after I received my 1 oz pour in a Glencairn glass, I slid the glass toward one of the candles on the bar so that I could take a picture. If only it were that simple. The glass stuck at one point and I knocked it over. Panicked, I quickly picked it up and was able to salvage about 1/2 oz. I was sad to see 1/2 of my pour go away but was happy to have added another PHC edition to my repertoire.

Parker's Heritage 10th Ed. (24 Year BiB)

Parker’s Heritage 10th Ed. (24 Year BiB)

April 21, 2017

As of April 21, 2017, another friend of mine and I had visited NYC every April for the past 10 years. We shared a passion for a cappella music, and each year we would attend the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs), which were held in Manhattan. We often brought friends, colleagues, and girlfriends, which always made for an exceptional time. The a cappella event was always the primary purpose for the trip, but this particular year, I had two other items I wanted to cross off my list. The first was to interview with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the airport for my Global Entry membership, and the other was to try another edition of PHC.

Again, each year’s PHC release is something altogether different from the previous year. I had tried the two newest ones at the time in the Rochester, NY area, so I needed to look elsewhere (e.g., NYC) to find bars that might still have older releases available. Fortunately, my friend was a great sport about things and met me at the airport to go through the interview, which was fairly quick. We continued on to a bar in Midtown Manhattan that I had called the night before to confirm they had the 8th edition (13 Year Wheat). Sure enough, they had put it aside for me and pulled it out as soon as we arrived. There was just enough left in the bottle for my friend and I to have two drinks.

I was happy to have finally tasted the release that had turned me on to PHC–and it was as good as the writers had described. I was also happy to add a third edition to my list of tastings. At this time, only seven editions remained.

Parker's Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Yr Wheat)

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Yr Wheat)

May 11, 2017

On May 11, 2017, I was traveling from Rochester, NY to Utica, NY to visit my family. I had read about a bar in Syracuse that had the 7th edition (Promise of Hope 10 year) in stock. So I stopped in on my way through and was able to enjoy a pour before continuing on. The sad part about this particular experience is that, because I was driving, I had to leave some of my drink on the table. Regardless, it was great to enjoy amidst a conversation with my friend on the phone.

Parker's Heritage 7th Ed. (PoH 10 Year)

Parker’s Heritage 7th Ed. (PoH 10 Year)

August 5, 2017

Ok, August 5, 2017 was a big day for me. A really big day. After trying PHC editions from 2016 back to 2013, it became increasingly difficult to find pours of the earlier editions (i.e., 2012-2007). I did a lot of research online…and I mean A LOT. I called plenty of bars across the country, I messaged people on various social media platforms. Heck, I even contacted the Master Distiller at Heaven Hill. By a stroke of luck, a person I had messaged on Reddit responded with a bar name–suggesting they may have the entire vertical (i.e., all of the editions (1-10)). I contacted the bar, and sure enough, they had every single edition. The challenge with this bar, aside from the impending cost of trying every PHC edition, was that it was located in Chicago, IL.

Again, as luck would have it, my whiskey enthusiast friend and I have another friend who often travels for work (often to Chicago) that we had been meaning to visit. So the three of us agreed on a weekend to get together. We had a blast. We traveled all around Chicago for a couple of days then made our way to this bar at night. I ordered 1 oz of every PHC edition. This was my chance to catch up on all of the editions, as far back as 2007, in on fell swoop. The PHC collection ranges from 48% ABV to ~65% ABV so let’s just say it was a great night (but rough morning the next day).

I had done it. After about 6 1/2 months of pursuit, I tried every edition of PHC–some more than once. I was feeling good that I accomplished my goal, albeit a seemingly silly one. Shortly after this weekend with my friends, I had set two new goals for myself. The first was to go on a diet. Seriously, alcohol has a lot of calories, and although I don’t drink very much on a weekly basis, I thought eliminating it completely could only help my overall health, and I wasn’t ISO PHC anymore, so the bug wasn’t there–sorta. The reason I say that is because my second goal was now to stay on top of trying PHC each year, which theoretically should be fairly easy as long as I just visit a local bar each November or December when Rochester gets its supply.

Parker's Heritage Editions 1-10

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-10

Parker's Heritage Editions 1-10

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-10

October 21, 2017

As of October 21, 2017, I had been pursuing and by some measures met my first goal of going on a diet. I wasn’t by any means fat, but there were many ways to improve health–more muscle mass, lower body fat %, increased endurance, etc. From my time in Chicago up to this point, I had only drank water. That’s it. For my food, I was on a strict diet that was actually a good variety of foods. The “strict” part was just making sure I didn’t overeat and exceed a certain calorie count in a day. I was down nearly 20 lbs with little-to-no loss in overall strength. I was in a great place!

The two friends of mine that I was with in Chicago were also with me for my bachelor party in Las Vegas in 2015. We decided it was time for a return trip to Sin City in October 2017. So we booked a long weekend. By this time, Heaven Hill had released the 11th edition of PHC–an 11 year cask strength single barrel. Despite its release, Rochester didn’t yet have it because this was the (un)sweet spot where the whiskey is available some places but not yet all places. Las Vegas was one of the places that had it. Vegas has everything. Since I didn’t necessarily want to wait until November/December and since we were going to be there anyway, I made arrangements with a sommelier to stop by his restaurant and bar to try the 11th edition. This was a wonderful release and an even greater overall experience. My friends and I visited a few more bars in the area and were even taken on a private tour of some of Vegas’s best wine cellars and whiskey rooms. Really amazing.

Parker's Heritage 11th Ed. (11 Year Single Barrel)

Parker’s Heritage 11th Ed. (11 Year Single Barrel)

That brings us to today–June 30, 2018. I’ve traveled around a lot of the United States in pursuit of trying all of the PHC editions. I’ve had so many great experiences throughout the journey. In a few months, this year’s edition (12th) will be released and as you might expect, I’m excited to try it. I plan to update this blog post each year with more information about my ongoing journey. In the meantime, I put together some other interesting Parker’s Heritage experiences I’ve had, outside of just trying the whiskey.

October 17, 2018

On October 17, 2018, I had the opportunity to try this year’s Parker’s Heritage edition. A seven- to eight-year aged whiskey finished in orange curaçao barrels . I must say, I was a bit skeptical at first for fear that this would taste like cough medicine. As it turns out, this went down smooth as I sipped it over the course of a half hour. At 110 proof, it has a little bit of a bite, but nothing overpowering. Since this was only the second time the Heaven Hill released a Barrel Finished bourbon in the Parker’s Heritage Collection, I thought it would be fun to have a “Battle of the Barrel Finished.” In my opinion, the fifth edition–finished in cognac barrels–still holds the championship title, though this year’s release gave it a huge run for the money.

Parker's Heritage Contest "Battle of the Barrel Finished" (5th and 12th Editions)

Parker’s Heritage Contest “Battle of the Barrel Finished!” (5th and 12th Editions)

Other Parker’s Heritage experiences

Amidst my pursuit to try all of the PHC editions, I set a secondary goal for myself of collecting a bottle from each edition. If you thought finding and trying each edition was difficult, actually acquiring a bottle from each one proved to be extremely difficult–but I was up for the challenge. It took several more months and a lot of time and money, but I was able to achieve this goal too. Here I have on display each of the bottles. I plan to update this gallery yearly as I obtain the newest PHC edition.

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength)

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength)

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength)

Parker’s Heritage 2nd Ed. (27-Year-Old)

Parker’s Heritage 2nd Ed. (27-Year-Old)

Parker’s Heritage 2nd Ed. (27-Year-Old)

Parker’s Heritage 3rd Ed. (Golden Anniversary)

Parker's Heritage 3rd Ed. (Golden Anniversary)

Parker’s Heritage 3rd Ed. (Golden Anniversary)

Parker’s Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year)

Parker's Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year)

Parker’s Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year)

Parker’s Heritage 5th Ed. (Barrel Cognac Finished)

Parker's Heritage 5th Ed. (Barrel Cognac Finished)

Parker’s Heritage 5th Ed. (Barrel Cognac Finished)

Parker’s Heritage 6th Ed. (Blend of Mashbills)

Parker's Heritage 6th Ed. (Blend of Mashbills)

Parker’s Heritage 6th Ed. (Blend of Mashbills)

Parker’s Heritage 7th Ed. (PoH 10 Year)

Parker's Heritage 7th Ed. (PoH 10 Year)

Parker’s Heritage 7th Ed. (PoH 10 Year)

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Yr Wheat)

Parker's Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Yr Wheat)

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Yr Wheat)

Parker’s Heritage 9th Ed. (8 Year Malt)

Parker's Heritage 9th Ed. (8 Year Malt)

Parker’s Heritage 9th Ed. (8 Year Malt)

Parker’s Heritage 10th Ed. (24 Year BiB)

Parker's Heritage 10th Ed. (24 Year BiB)

Parker’s Heritage 10th Ed. (24 Year BiB)

Parker’s Heritage 11th Ed. (11 Year Single Barrel)

Parker's Heritage 11th Ed. (11 Year Single Barrel)

Parker’s Heritage 11th Ed. (11 Year Single Barrel)

Parker’s Heritage 12th Ed. (Barrel Orange Curaçao Finished)

Parker's Heritage 12th Ed. (Barrel Orange Curaçao Finished)

Parker’s Heritage 12th Ed. (Barrel Orange Curaçao Finished)

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

Parker’s Heritage Editions 1-12

PHC Stat Sheets:

Parker’s Heritage First Edition
Released: 2007
Retail Price: $80
Name: Cask Strength
Aged: Multiple Years (Blended)
Proof(s): 122.6, 126.6, 127.4, 129.6, 121.4 (export proof)
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Three proofs. See above.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 1/2/2018
Where I first acquired a bottle: Friend
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Second Edition
Released: 2008
Retail Price: $185
Name: 27-Year-Old Bourbon
Aged: 27 Years
Proof(s): 96
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? No
Multiple Batch Notes: N/A
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 1/11/2018
Where I first acquired a bottle: Friend
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Third Edition
Released: 2009
Retail Price: $150
Name: Golden Anniversary
Aged: Multiple Years (Blended)
Proof(s): 100
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? No
Multiple Batch Notes: N/A
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 1/16/2018
Where I first acquired a bottle: Friend
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Fourth Edition
Released: 2010
Retail Price: $80
Name: Wheated Bourbon
Aged: 10 Years
Proof(s): 127.8, 124.2
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Two proofs. See above.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 1/31/2018
Where I first acquired a bottle: Friend
Other notes: 131.2 proof?
Parker’s Heritage Fifth Edition
Released: 2011
Retail Price: $80
Name: Barrel (Cognac) Finished
Aged: 10 Years
Proof(s): 100
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? No
Multiple Batch Notes: N/A
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 12/4/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Friend
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Sixth Edition
Released: 2012
Retail Price: $80
Name: Blend of Mashbills
Aged: 11 Years
Proof(s): 127, 131.6, 133.2, 137.9, 139.4
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Five proofs. See above.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $0
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Chicago, IL
When I first acquired a bottle: 10/14/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Cocktail Lounge, Syracuse, NY
Other notes: 127 and 132 proofs?
Parker’s Heritage Seventh Edition
Released: 2013
Retail Price: $90
Name: Promise of Hope
Aged: 10 Years
Proof(s): 96
Single Barrel? Yes
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Single barrel.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $20
When I first tried it: 5/11/2017
Where I first tried it: Steakhouse, Syracuse, NY
When I first acquired a bottle: 5/11/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Steakhouse, Syracuse, NY
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Eighth Edition
Released: 2014
Retail Price: $90
Name: Original Batch Wheat Whiskey
Aged: 13 Years
Proof(s): 126.8, 127.4
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Two proofs. See above.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $5
When I first tried it: 8/5/2017
Where I first tried it: Restaurant, New York, NY
When I first acquired a bottle: 4/21/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Restaurant, New York, NY
Other notes: 136.2 proof?
Parker’s Heritage Ninth Edition
Released: 2015
Retail Price: $100
Name: Malt Whiskey
Aged: 8 Years
Proof(s): 108
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? No
Multiple Batch Notes: N/A
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $5
When I first tried it: 2/19/2017
Where I first tried it: Rochester, NY
When I first acquired a bottle: 2/19/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Wine & Spirits Store, Rochester, NY
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Tenth Edition
Released: 2016
Retail Price: $250
Name: 24 Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon
Aged: 24 Years
Proof(s): 100
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? Yes
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Two dumps. Fall 1990 and Spring 1991.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $5
When I first tried it: 3/9/2017
Where I first tried it: Cocktail Lounge, Rochester, NY
When I first acquired a bottle: 4/1/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Wine & Spirits Store, Rochester, NY
Other notes: Oldest bottled-in-bond bourbon.
Parker’s Heritage Eleventh Edition
Released: 2017
Retail Price: $130
Name: 11-Year-Old Single Barrel
Aged: 11 Years
Proof(s): 122
Single Barrel? Yes
Cask Strength? Yes
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? Yes
Multiple Batch Notes: Multiple dumps. Single barrel.
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $5
When I first tried it: 10/21/2017
Where I first tried it: Steakhouse, Las Vegas, NV
When I first acquired a bottle: 11/3/2017
Where I first acquired a bottle: Wine & Spirits Store, Rochester, NY
Other notes:
Parker’s Heritage Twelfth Edition
Released: 2018
Retail Price: $90
Name: Barrel (Orange Curaçao) Finished
Aged: 7-8 Years
Proof(s): 110
Single Barrel? No
Cask Strength? No
Bottled In Bond? No
Multiple Batches? No
Multiple Batch Notes: N/A
Donation Amount Per Bottle: $5
When I first tried it: 10/17/2018
Where I first tried it: Rochester, NY
When I first acquired a bottle: 10/10/2018
Where I first acquired a bottle: Wine & Spirits Store, Rochester, NY
Other notes:

Since I’m a glutton for punishment, amidst my secondary goal of collecting a bottle from each PHC edition, I set a tertiary goal for myself of gathering information and other paraphernalia related to this collection. Here are some of my findings.

Parker’s Heritage 2nd Edition Bottle Signed by Parker Beam (+ Collectible Bag)

Parker's Heritage 2nd Edition Bottle Signed By Parker Beam + Collectible Bag

Parker’s Heritage 2nd Edition Bottle Signed By Parker Beam (+ Collectible Bag)

Parker’s Heritage Shot Glasses

Parker's Heritage Shot Glasses

Parker’s Heritage Shot Glasses

Parker’s Heritage Neck Tag with Odd Hole Punch Placement (bottle on right)

Parker's Heritage Neck Tag with Odd Hole Punch Placement (bottle on right)

Parker’s Heritage Neck Tag with Odd Hole Punch Placement (bottle on right)

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Extremely Rare Proof (126.6)

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Extremely Rare Proof (126.6)<br />Photo courtesy of Sergio Ceja

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Extremely Rare Proof (126.6)
Photo courtesy of Sergio Ceja

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Export Proof (bottles on left)

Parker's Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Export Proof (bottles on left)<br />Photo courtesy of Shannon Jeng

Parker’s Heritage 1st Ed. (Cask Strength) Export Proof (bottles on left)
Photo courtesy of Shannon Jeng

Images of PHC labels that never made it into production:

Parker’s Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year) 131.2 Proof

Parker's Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year) 131.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage 4th Ed. (Wheated Bourbon 10 Year) 131.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat) First Run 136.2 Proof

Parker's Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat) First Run 136.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat) First Run 136.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat)136.2 Proof

Parker's Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat)136.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage 8th Ed. (13 Year Wheat)136.2 Proof

Parker’s Heritage Facts:

  • Parker Beam was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2010. He announced his illness to his fans in 2013, which is why PHC 7th edition was named Promise of Hope (PoH). Heaven Hill donated $20 from each bottle of PoH sold to the ALS Promise Fund, and $5 from each bottle sold from each edition thereafter.
  • At the time of writing (6/30/2018), there are only two single barrel releases (7th Ed. and 11 Ed.).
  • At the time of writing (6/30/2018), there is only one bottle-in-bond release (10th Ed.). This is also the oldest bottled-in-bond bourbon.
  • At the time of writing (6/30/2018), there is only one edition that doesn’t have an age statement (3rd Ed.). Update: The 12th edition also does not have a single age statement–technically it includes bourbon aged 7-8 years) .
  • At the time of this update (12/7/18) there is now a second Barrel Finished release (12th Ed.). Previously there was only one (5th Ed.).

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