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Best of the Year


Over the past few years we’ve seen an unexpected class of whiskey appearing more frequently in the marketplace: light whiskey. Hooten Young is made from a 99% corn mashbill, distilled to 189 proof, aged for 12 years in second fill barrels, and then bottled at barrel proof. This is a bold dessert whiskey, offering an almost rum-like characteristic with molasses, buttered cornbread, a surge of crème brulée sweetness, and plenty of intensity on the backend. Unapologetically bold, Hooten Young 12 Year Barrel Proof is a fantastic representation of what a higher aged, higher proof light whiskey can taste like.

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Who would have thought blending together the flavors of rye, rum, madeira, and brandy into one product would actually work? Even then who would have the guts to take on such a wild concept? Blending is what Barrell Craft Spirits has built their reputation on, and as they've grown they’ve shown a willingness to push the boundaries of blending further and further. In more ways than one, Barrell Seagrass was a gamble, but it was one that paid off. There isn’t anything on the market quite like Barrell Seagrass, and while that may make it a challenging sip for some, others will revel in its inventiveness and eccentricity. It was a bold risk that resulted in a wildly dynamic pour that pushes the boundaries of American whiskey and challenges others to do the same.

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Hot Toddy’s have always made it acceptable to mix whiskey and honey, but Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery takes that combination to a whole new level. While honey flavored bourbon liquors add honey directly to their blend, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was one of the first to release a honey barrel finished bourbon in the mid 2010s. Harnessing used TruBee Honey barrels (which held Belle Meade bourbon previously) the company ages their standard bourbon for an additional 6-8 months in these honey barrels. The end result is as unique as any barrel finished bourbon the market has seen. Belle Meade Bourbon Honey Cask Finish delivers an incredibly unique sip that is both sweet and complex at the same time, and exemplifies what barrel finished bourbons can deliver when thinking outside the box.

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When it comes to the annual limited edition Parker’s Heritage Collection, Heaven Hill deserves credit for trying something different each year. While the flavor of wheat whiskey doesn’t deviate too drastically from bourbon, especially wheated bourbons, they’re still a novelty in the marketplace. Combined with the heavy char (a 90 second burn as compared to the standard 40 second burn), aging for 11 years, and bottled at a robust 122 proof, the whiskey is anything but typical. Immediately enjoyable, it should be on every enthusiast’s whiskey wish list. Put simply, Parker’s Heritage Heavy Char Wheat Whiskey has that “wow” factor you look for in a really good whiskey, and walks the fine line of being just unique tasting enough to stand apart, but not so unusual that it will scare people away.

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Written By: BB Team

December 13, 2021
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