In 2020, we saw an abundant number of single cask bourbons. At some point, it felt like every club did several single barrel picks. I tried to taste the ones that are picked by the people who know my palate. This Heaven Hill 10 from the indie Bottler Valinch & Mallet is picked by my friends at San Francisco Whiskey, Bourbon and Scotch Society. It was still no guarantee that I could get a bottle, but I was lucky to get one through a ballot. Hope it is worth the effort:)
What Is Special About It?
This Heaven Hill is distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2020, apparently didn't complete its tour around the sun and could be bottled as a 10 year old. It is number 92 of 248 bottles and bottled at a monstrous 64.1% abv!!!
This bottle is special to me for another reason. In 2020, I became very good friends with some of our friends in the club who are residing in Vacaville, CA, which we also call Dramville. This bottle has a back label devoting this pick to our friends in Dramville, calling it 'Dramville's Creed - Whisky Rogues'.
Valinch & Mallet Heaven Hill 10 Year Old SFWBSS Cask
How Does It Taste?
It starts very wild with a citrus attack. So I let it sit down for some time. Honestly, I haven't seen a change this big over some time. The nose converted into a darker, complex character with finesse. Patisserie cream, herbal honey, cedar tree, vanilla, chocolate ganache, Christmas cake, fruits and violet are on the nose. The palate is oily with sandalwood, baking spices, marshmallow and apricot. Cherries and dried grapefruit bursts. The finish is long with tobacco, nutmeg, lots of oak spices that is not overpowering and oak tannin bitterness with pipe tobacco and dark chocolate notes.
Opening it up with some water brought out the candied orange, caramelized sugar and molasses notes.
Thanks to Roland and my friends at SFWBSS, this was an exquisite, jewellike bourbon for me in 2020. Strong but delicate, complex with a finesse, touching to multiple bases. It will take some time for me to finish this and then I will be sorry that I couldn't get a second bottle.
The nose was incredible and that actually made the whisky to lose the balance a little bit, but it is a good problem to have right? The palate was layered and luscious. Finish is long and dark just like I like.