Parker’s Heritage Collection: Cask Strength Rye


Classification: Straight Rye

Company: Heaven Hill

Distillery: Heaven Hill

Release Date: September 2023

Proof: 128.8

Age: 10 Years

Mashbill: 51% Rye, 35% Corn, 14% Malted Barley

Color: Mahogany

MSRP: $185 / 750mL (2023)

Official Website

The 2023 edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection marks the 17th entry for the brand. The release is comprised of 142 barrels and is the highest aged rye in Heaven Hill’s portfolio. This is the second time a rye has appeared in the collection, with the other being the 2019 Heavy Char Barrels Straight Rye. According to the company’s press release, “the 17th edition is comprised of 10-year-old Rye Whiskey that was barreled in August, October, or December of 2012. The barrels were aged on the first floors of Rickhouses H1 and H2, the fifth floor of Rickhouse FF, the third and seventh floors of Rickhouse BB, and the second floor of Rickhouse DD."

Once again like all releases starting with 2013’s Promise of Hope, Heaven Hill will contribute a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold to the ALS Association in honor of the late Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam.


The sip starts off with delightful scents of smoked cherrywood, rich rye spice, and spiced raisins. Providing support are bold baking spices with nutmeg and cinnamon powder being the most prominent. Light lemon zest, poached pear, and a slight touch of dried cherries provide the proverbial cherry on top of the delicious concoction of scents. Rich and delightful, the nose is everything you’d hope it would be out of a high-proof, high-aged rye of this nature


If you weren’t aware of the age of this year, you might be led to believe that it’s older than it really is. Dry oak sets the foundation for notes of cherry cough syrup and cinnamon stick. Rye spice provides an umbrella of cover and is joined with a chocolate syrup note that adds both depth and intrigue in the combination. It’s not overtly spicy due to its “barely legal” rye mashbill of only 51% rye, but the combination of flavors is delightful and works very well together.


A rush of cinnamon and rye spice billow forward. Light leather and oak weave in, along with a distinct cherry note. A mixed peppercorn spice adds fuel to the fire as the spiciness grows with intensity before ebbing away in a gentle decline as the spice turns to a warming heat. It's a barn burner of an ending to the sip which provides enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more, while also serving as a firm reminder that even though this may contain only 51% rye, there is no denying what grain is the prominent leader of the bunch.


Barrel proof ryes, while not completely uncommon, are still the exception to the norm compared to barrel proof bourbons. If you’re willing to go out of your way to find one, you can find good examples in Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye, Michter’s US*1 Barrel Strength Rye, Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye, Stellium Rye, or even Corbin Cash, which has been making a name of itself as of late. However, the one thing that none of these whiskeys have is an age statement, let alone a double-digit age statement. Sure you could argue that I left out Thomas H. Handy, with its usual 6ish-year age, though most consumers will have to go very much out of their way (and pay well over MSRP) to get a bottle. Although thanks to American whiskey’s resurgence, you could make an argument that the same applies to the Parker’s Heritage Collection.

Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye isn’t the first rye to be in the series, with Parker’s Heritage Collection: Heavy Char Barrels Straight Rye claiming that title in 2019. Coming in at almost 2 years younger, over 20 proof points lower, and utilizing a level 5 char versus a typical level 3 char, that release was a whole different beast. After having the opportunity to try many different bottles of that release, I found the heavy char to take away from the overall sip and didn’t allow Heaven Hill the opportunity to show off their higher-aged rye chops. Instead, consumers were forced to settle with the company’s Elijah Craig Rye or their higher proof but younger aged Pikesville Rye if they wanted a more serviceable sip. That all changes thanks to this year's Parker’s Heritage Collection release.

The combination of time in the barrels and being bottled at barrel proof results in a rye that hasn’t been seen before by the likes of Heaven Hill. It may not have the intense spiciness that a 95/5 rye mashbill might have, but it holds its own, and more importantly, delivers a flavorful sip that high proof rye lovers will want to seek out. While all Parker’s Heritage Collection releases are one-off in nature, I truly hope that Heaven Hill takes note and releases an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Rye variant to complement their Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon line. In the meantime, rye lovers will want to seek out this release from Heaven Hill.


The one thing consistent with the Parker’s Heritage Collection, is that the price is never consistent from release to release. Unlike the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which carries with it a relatively consistent price tag year over year and even among the various bottles, annual editions of the Parker’s Heritage Collection can vary widely year over year. Coming in at $185, this year’s edition is by no means low priced. While it represents the highest aged rye and also the highest proof rye currently available from Heaven Hill, there are barrel proof ryes on the market that cost a fraction of the price and deliver a sip, while not quite as good, are pretty impressive in their own right. This includes the aforementioned Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye which comes in at a third of the cost.

Still, at the end of the day, this pricing is in line with other limited releases, and in fact, compared to so many other whiskeys that now fall in the $250-$500 price range, it feels like Heaven Hill is underpricing this. Realizing that this may sound crazy to read, you have to understand that the entire whiskey market is slowly re-leveling itself and that premium products, especially unique limited edition ones, continue to see how high they can push price in the marketplace before consumers tap out. It may not be what most will spend on a bottle of whiskey, but for those who have the resources, Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye is priced fairly and represents a good value when compared to its peers.


High proof, high aged, and highly flavorful, this year's edition of Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye will leave rye lovers wishing that Heaven Hill add an ongoing barrel proof rye to their whiskey portfolio.

After the first rye release in the Parker’s Heritage Collection back in 2019, I can honestly say I wasn’t looking forward to a follow-up rye release in the collection. It turns out that I was completely wrong, and should have been asking the company to release one much sooner. Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye is everything that high proof rye lovers seek out, with the added bonus of the 10 years it spent in the barrels imparting deep flavors on an overall excellent sip. Priced high but fair, this year's release is one that should not only be scooped off the shelf by anyone who sees it, but also opened just as quickly. This is a drinkable rye that deserves to be poured and enjoyed by as many rye lovers as possible. It makes me hope that Heaven Hill considers adding a barrel proof rye full-time to its whiskey portfolio. Until that day comes though, Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye will serve as a great reminder of what Heaven Hill is capable of when it comes to making whiskey in this category.

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: Jordan Moskal

October 11, 2023
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