Whiskey Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection 13th Edition Heavy Char Rye Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection 13th Edition Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Heaven Hill. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Heaven Hill is back with an addition to the Parker’s Heritage Collection, which honors their beloved late distiller, Parker Beam. This series, released annually, has included highlights like orange curaçao finished bourbon, wheat whiskey (cask strength and 13 years old) and an eight-year-old malt whiskey. This 13th year brings us a heavy-char rye.

Heavy char is meant seriously, the 75 barrels having an unusual level five char. Enduring a full minute and a half of flame, these barrels are charred about twice as long as typical bourbon barrels. The burn is so deep that layers of oak start to peel away, allowing the whiskey access to both charred and uncharred wood. 

Though bourbon lovers eagerly anticipate this special edition, it might be even more welcomed by the ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) community. From the seventh edition onward (the release after Parker’s diagnosis), over a fifth of each sale has gone to the ALS Association. ALS kills an estimated 30,000 patients a year worldwide, and has proven a difficult clinical puzzle: despite bring described 150 years ago, it’s as yet impossible to cure, and barely treatable. Causes are mysterious; the condition only following heredity 5-10% of the time. Motor neurons of the central nervous system are attacked, leaving the patient eventually paralyzed. Survival times range from two-to-four years. Parker Beam succumbed in 2017.

No one likes to think about mortality when enjoying a nice whiskey, but it’s a fitting tribute to Beam that Heaven Hill continues to choose the whiskeys they think he would’ve liked best, honoring his memory with the hopes that other families won’t have to suffer the same loss.

Parker’s Heritage Collection 13th Edition Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

Parker’s Heritage Collection 13th Edition Heavy Char Rye Whiskey (image via Heaven Hill)

Tasting Notes: Parker’s Heritage Collection 13th Edition Heavy Char Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: Parker’s Heritage 13th Edition comes in at 105 proof. It’s mash bill is 51% rye, 35% corn and 14 % malted barley; aged for eight years in heavy charred barrels. Available in 750mL for $149.99.

Appearance: Unexpected bubbles formed along the meniscus after pouring, and the otherwise very clear spirit showed tiny white specks. These didn’t negatively impact the experience. The liquid itself is a bright orange-gold that beads and quickly forms fat, uniform tears.

Nose: The nose of this whiskey is pretty – clear stone fruit: Rainier cherries in a new wooden bowl. A whiff of banana peel lingers on the end of the inhale.

Palate: A full and warm palate: loads of spice and treacle with a slight herbal bitterness toward the back palate. The flavor mellows into a long, creamy finish.

The Takeaway

Summary

Parker's Heritage Collection 13th Edition is a dram to be savored. It works well - flavorful and smooth, belying it's hefty proof. Something in me expected smoke character from such thoroughly scorched barrels, but it seems their refining effect won out.

4.5
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