Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 18 Year Old Straight Bourbon


Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Release Date: March 2024

Proof: 120

Age: 18 Years

Mashbill: 78% Corn, 12% Malted Barley, 10% Rye

Color: Dark Gold

MSRP: $300 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release


Cherry cough syrup | Cherry cola | Musty oak | Graham cracker | Molasses


Charred oak | Cooked Morello cherries | Light root beer | Vanilla extract


Musty oak | Barrel tannins | Leather | Baking chocolate | Touch of smoke | Light dryness


While a 120 proof, 18 year old bourbon from Heaven Hill is likely on everyone's wishlist, aging bourbon for so long can be a vexing muse to conquer.

The Heaven Hill Heritage Collection was launched in 2022. According to the company’s press release, “Each spring, this annual, highly limited release will feature some of the distillery’s oldest inventory of aging whiskey, continuing the standard of excellence Heaven Hill has practiced since 1935.” Each year’s release highlights one of the distillery’s six mashbills, and this year’s release features one of the company’s most popular, as it is utilized in their Elijah Craig Bourbon brand. Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 18 Year Old Straight Bourbon is made up of 133 barrels produced in December 2005 and pulled from the third floor of Rickhouse 1I.

Given this release’s age and mashbill, this could be considered a cask strength release of Heaven Hill’s annual Elijah Craig 18 Year Bourbon. That in itself is a treat because outside of some distillery-only releases of William Heavenhill and Heaven Hill Select Stock, this is a rare occurrence. Of course, even though this is a national release, this whiskey will likely just be as hard to track down as those distillery-only releases.

The bourbon opens with rich cherry scents that waffles between cherry cough syrup and cherry cola. That’s not a bad thing once it goes up against musty oak, because it combines to surprising effectiveness. The nose is further rounded out by agreeable scents of graham cracker and molasses. The palate keeps with its aroma by starting with charred oak and cooked Morello cherry notes. This is where the sip begins to trend slightly bitter and a touch sour tasting, which is where the Morello cherry note originates from. It is followed by a light root beer and vanilla extract note that generally works well. The finish turns again to a musty oak note, with a ramp-up of barrel tannins. It never takes the tannins too far, as leather and baking chocolate take over and temper them out.

The annual Elijah Craig 18 Year Bourbon is never quite the showstopper you’d expect it to be, and the same is true for Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 18 Year Old Straight Bourbon. As is usually the case for high aged bourbon, oak and tannins tend to overpower many of the bourbon’s more flavorful fruity and savory notes. On paper, a cask strength Elijah Craig 18 Year Bourbon sounds utterly fantastic. But as fun as this bourbon is to experience, it comes up a bit short. Heavy oak, influential tannins, and a big price are hard to overlook in this case, and after the stellar showing of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch C923 last year, the shortcomings of this year’s Heritage Collection are more evident than they might have been otherwise.  

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Eric Hasman

April 2, 2024
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