Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Indie Bourbon, Scotch Style: Alchemist Heaven Hill
Alchemist is a Scottish bottler known for its independent bottlings of such well known single malts as Highland Park, Macallan and Springbank. It's one of the smaller indies and occasionally bottles other spirits such as brandy and rum, and on at least one occasion, they bottled a bourbon.
As someone used to the American indie game, it's refreshing to see an independent bourbon bottling with the name of the distillery right on it. Alchemist's Heaven Hill is a 12 year old, distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2011. It weighs in at 46% abv. It goes for $90 which is a pretty hefty price tag for a 12 year old 92 proof bourbon, but then again, it's that rarest of things, an imported bourbon.
Heaven Hill 12 (Alchemist), 46% abv ($90).
The nose on this is pure Heaven Hill, sweet with honey and somewhat floral with a light woodiness at the end. The palate also has a classic taste of burnt caramel and brown sugar mingled with a small amount of wood which gives it just the right amount of character; it ends with a candy-sweet finish.
This is a great, easy to drink, no muss-no fuss bourbon. It's not overly complicated, but it's light and sweet and very enjoyable. If I'd tasted this blind, I might have guessed it came from an old dusty bottle. Maybe more than any other contemporary bourbon, the Alchemist Heaven Hill harkens back to the old dusty days when bourbon was sweet with a touch of wood and oh, so easy to drink. It's surely expensive for what it is, but it's thoroughly enjoyable. Hmm, maybe those Scots do know a thing or two about whiskey.