$ — 47% ABV — 12 years
In the 1780s, a Baptist preacher named Elijah Craig moved out into the American frontier, where modern Kentucky is today. There, he built many factories to supply jobs for his growing congregation, and one of those factories distilled corn.
The story goes that a fire scorched a heap of wood staves destined for the cooper, but Craig decided to use them anyway. Thus Bourbon, with its signature maturation in charred oak, was born. Only ... probably not.
Historians believe the tradition of charred oak was started by French merchants transporting Cognac. American distillers were trying to climb over a sinking rum industry, but were also aspiring to compete with foreign luxuries. It's no surprise then they would model their production after brandy. Yet the legend of Elijah and the staves of Kentucky lives on in much the same manner as Patrick and the snakes of Ireland: a good tale to tell, especially over a glass of whiskey.
And what a whiskey it is! Despite being named after a man of the cloth, this bourbon is light on holy smoke and big on forbidden fruit. A fair amount of rye, a slightly higher barley content and a very robust maturation of 12 years makes for a cult classic Bourbon that punches way above its price category. Currently, there are rumblings of the brand dropping its age statement, which many fear will mean a dip in quality. Get a bottle now — if only so you can go on about how they don't make 'em like they used to.
Heaven Hill is located in Bardstown, Kentucky in the Southern USA. Established 1935 by the Shapira family, it remains an independent distiller.
Butterscotch, Honey, Vanilla, Orange, Apple, Peppercorn