Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in Armagnac Barrels
Company: World Whiskey Society
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery
Release Date: December 2022
Age: 12 Years
Mashbill: 74% Corn, 18% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Color: Reddish Gold
MSRP: $205 (2023)
Apricot | Grape | Baker’s chocolate | Butter | Seasoned oak | Interesting contrast
Oak | Vanilla | Caramel | Light raspberry | Minor spice | Classic tasting
Dried fruit | Black cherry | Old oak | Peanut husk | Light vegetal | Earthy
World Whiskey Society is a relative newcomer to the whiskey scene and you’ll be forgiven if you haven't heard of them, but once you get a glimpse at their bottle designs, you may never forget them.
Established in 2020, the World Whiskey Society (WWS) is a non-distiller producer that sources whiskeys from all over the world, often packaging them into highly unique bottles. What makes WWS stand out besides their aforementioned bottle designs, is the partnerships they have formed with major whiskey producers. Case in point, the whiskey in review says right on its label: “Mash Bill: 74% Corn, 18% Rye, 8% Malted Barley. Distilled at Heaven Hill Distillery.” It’s highly irregular to see such wording on a sourced Heaven Hill bottle, which further adds to the mysticism of this release.
The whiskey’s Armagnac barrel finish certainly takes hold in the whiskey’s aroma. Big apricot and grape scents are nicely contested by strong chocolate and seasoned oak notes. Though the mashbill doesn’t line up with any of Heaven Hill’s major brands, it certainly contains a lot of the qualities of Elijah Craig in its palate, as it’s classic through and through with oak, vanilla, and caramel as the main driving force. The Armagnac influence once again comes out for the whiskey’s finish, adding a unique spin to a traditional tasting bourbon. For those unfamiliar with Armagnac, very generally, it can taste more rustic than bourbon though they can share many similarities. As a result, the finish has shades of familiarity that catch you off guard once it veers off the typical bourbon profile.
Beyond the whiskey itself, there’s no denying the eye-catching appeal of its bottle design. There just isn’t anything else like it on the market. WWS could have left it at that and simply rebottled someone else's whiskey they sourced and called it a day. Instead the company took it a step further and finished the whiskey in an uncommon manner. Armagnac shouldn't be overly offensive to most bourbon drinkers as they share many flavor traits, but at the end of the day, Armagnac is distinctly its own style. The whiskey itself won’t wow you as much as the bottle it comes in, but at least you’re not getting a phoned-in bourbon either. Being a Heaven Hill bourbon finished in Armagnac barrels certainly has a lot of value in and of itself. While the whiskey doesn’t quite justify its price tag, the package as a whole does its best to try.
The bottle being reviewed is number 182 out of 885.