Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Heaven Hill
Distillery: Heaven Hill
Release Date: January 2024
Age: 6-8 Years
Mashbill: 68% Corn, 20% Wheat, 12% Malted Barley
Color: Light Mahogany
MSRP: $65 / 750mL (2024)
Burnt caramel | Vanilla | Spiced chocolate | Charred oak | Tannic oak | Snickers candy bar
Burnt caramel | Robust baking spices | Roasted hazelnut | Deep raisin | Very spice-forward
Mexican chocolate | Heavy barrel char | Black pepper | Allspice | Touch dry | Hot
Batch A124 ventures into new territory, but it won’t be for everyone.
Last year was another interesting year for Larceny Barrel Proof Bourbon releases. Batch A123 started the year off with an upward trajectory before Heaven Hill dropped another whopper with Batch B523 that rivaled the elite status of Batch C922. Batch C923 slowed things down, but went harder than ever with cinnamon for the final batch of 2023. As 2024 opens, Heaven Hill drops Batch A124, a batch so spice-forward I’d be surprised if they ever top the spice level in future releases.
The sip begins with familiar caramel vanilla territory, though this time the caramel has a noticeable burnt quality to it. Spiced chocolate with a hearty amount of charred and tannic oak scents are further layered on. These combine to form an aroma that is very reminiscent of a Snicker’s candy bar. From there, the palate goes into familiar robust territory that the brand is known for except with more burnt caramel and robust baking spices this time out. But this is where the bourbon veers quite dramatically, adding roasted hazelnut and a deep raisin note, before transitioning to extremely heavy spice. The finish continues in this direction, and introduces spicy Mexican chocolate, heavy barrel char, black pepper, and allspice. It ends hot, spice-forward, and a touch dry.
I like that Heaven Hill went a different direction with this batch and continues to find ways to explore new areas the brand hasn’t gone to. Such a high degree of peppery spice is somewhat usual for the brand. It had to shed some of its usual flavors of molasses, maple, red fruit, stewed apples, and thick vanilla as a result, and that tradeoff will be polarizing. Being so spice-forward, with a high degree of roasted flavors and tannic dry oak, won’t be for everyone. Fans may celebrate this departure, but many will likely find this too spicy and hot for their tastes as I did.