Whiskey Review: Parker's Heritage 12th Edition - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Parker’s Heritage 12th Edition

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try some of the Parker’s Heritage releases yet, you should make it your number one priority next time you’re at a whiskey bar. I say this for several reasons. Firstly, they are delicious. There are 12 unique editions available at this point, so you’re likely to find one that suites your palate. Within those 12, we see a great range of styles and purpose. The style of Parker’s Heritage does not aim for consistency but rather for innovation and uniqueness.

The most convincing reason to try Parker’s Heritage is that your purchase is a contribution to the ALS Association to help cure what is commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Heaven Hill distillery, who makes Parker’s Heritage, donates a portion of the proceeds from every bottle to the cause. This means we can drink great bourbon while also feeling good about a cause behind it, which you don’t get to say about every whiskey out there!

Originally created by Parker Beam himself, we now celebrate his legacy with yearly releases of this special whiskey. For the 12th Edition, Heaven Hill partnered once again with Alain Royer to create a curacao finished bourbon. Royer is a master blender who has worked with some of the most respected Cognac producers and has released and owned his own lines as well. He has also influenced several American whiskey releases, such as Distiller’s Masterpiece and the 5th Edition Parker’s Heritage.

This 12th edition is seven years old and finished in ex-curacao barrels. To refresh you, curacao is an orange liqueur. It can use different base spirits and has an interesting history behind the different namesakes. We can expect some amount of orange will arrive in the flavor profile of this bourbon, but the specific type of curacao barrels used isn’t specified. A fun finish to a bourbon indeed!

Parker’s Heritage Collection 12th Edition

Parker’s Heritage Collection 12th Edition (image via Heaven Hill)

Tasting Notes: Parker’s Heritage 12th Edition

Vital Stats: 110 proof, seven year bourbon finished for around four months in orange curacao barrels, 750ml

Appearance: Golden bronze

Nose: If you forgot that it is a curacao finished bourbon, the nose will remind you immediately. Sweet oranges, charred oak, and a slightly medicinal aspect. Darker stone fruits and spice.

Palate: Round and sweet. The barrel finishing is not overwhelming, but definitely evident. Caramel and apricot with vanilla spice in the background. Slight green notes come through until a smooth and spice driven finish carry you to the next sip.

The Takeaway

Upon first sips, this is probably closer to a four star bourbon. However, the given 'interesting' factor adds a great deal of value to it. A rarity in the bourbon world, the curacao finish brings in a twist of excitement that make this whiskey that much more enjoyable. Also, while I highly encourage enjoying this neat, it would be a very exciting cocktail bourbon. It drinks like a high class whiskey with a rebellious attitude, and I like that. It's kind of like a movie star who breaks the law to prove a point for a good cause. The 12th edition is the whiskey that's doing the right thing by doing things differently. A fitting personality for a bourbon that helps the ALS Association. Cheers to that.

4.5
User Rating 2.69 (13 votes)
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About the author

Cameron Holck

Bartender in Portland, OR.