Bourbon Review: Parker’s Heritage 8 Year Old Malt Whiskey

I was in Dallas on business last week and visited Whiskey Cake, my favorite spot for a drink and bite to eat in the Frisco/Plano area. I decided to try something from Parker’s Heritage Collection.  Each year Heaven Hill Distillery releases a special whiskey in the name of their late Master Distiller Parker Beam.  I have never tried anything from the Parker Collection.  To honor the great Parker Beam I thought I would try one of their releases.  I selected the 8-year-old Malt Whiskey released in 2015.

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Enjoying Parker’s Collection at Whiskey Cake

 

If you are not familiar with Malt whiskey it is made from a fermented mash just like bourbon. Unlike bourbon which is 51% corn or higher, Malt is made from a malted grain, and this one is barley, 65% barley and 35% corn.  Just like bourbon it must be aged in a new charred American Oak barrel.

This is one of the first American Malt’s I have experienced. It was really good. If you haven’t had experience with American Malt Whiskey’s you will be pleasantly surprised.  There are many similarities to bourbon.  It felt a little like drinking a scotch, then I thought, “no, it’s a little like a bourbon.”  It has notes of butterscotch and toffee, and you get the sweetness from the corn.  You can definitely taste the oak.  It has a mellow rich flavor and is a very smooth whiskey with a soft finish.

I was originally going to try the 8th Edition 13 year old “Wheat” whiskey but they had sold the last of it. I never would have picked it first but glad the wheat was sold out. I’ve never been a big fan of scotch or European malts, but I’m glad I tried this.  I’m looking forward to trying more Malt Whiskey in the future. It’s a unique experience.  If this becomes the benchmark for American malts we are in for some fun experiences.

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Parker’s Heritage Collection Editions (Photo from the Heaven Hill Distillery website)

Aged: 8 years
Proof: 108 proof
Color: Mahogany
Aroma: Oak, pine
Taste: Toffee, butterscotch
Price: $100 (When Released in late 2015; you can find resale bottles at nice liquor stores like Hi-Time Wine Cellars)

Bourbon Review: Cotton Hollow Bourbon

We were in Corpus Christi, Texas a few months ago and our son said the local Spec’s liquor Store was a must see – so we went! Spec’s is a large chain with a huge selection of everything wine, beer, liquor, spirits related. I asked the salesman in the bourbon aisle to recommend a Texas Bourbon. He said he did not have one he recommended which shocked me (any readers have some Texas whiskey recommendations??). But, he did say to try Cotton Hollow. I had never seen it before so I thought I would bring home a bottle.

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Cotton Hollow Distilling is an “Independent Bottler.” Independent Bottlers buy whiskey in the barrel from producers and brokers. These whiskies are then bottled under the label of the Independent Bottler. Cotton Hollow’s goal is to bottle whiskies from American distilleries and bring the finest flavors to the consumer at 93 proof. It is distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky.

It is distilled from sweet corn, rye, and malted barley. They are using limestone filtered water in their process. Limestone water, good for the horses, even better for the bourbon. The bottle I purchased is from Batch 003 Bottle No. 2902. Their first release was in 2014 and it was aged 4 years. The second release in 2015 was aged 8 years. The bottle I have was aged 8 years.

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As I first opened the bottle it reminded me of the Wild Turkey 101. Not sure why but that was my first impression. Other reviews have said it has the aroma of Banana Cream pie, ash, and even nail polish remover. It may be the latter that reminds me of the 101. The higher proof bourbons at first breath give you a strong alcohol smell. They then mellow and you will smell some grains, and oak, and pepper.

It has a nice finish and is pleasant on the tongue. Once it has breathed I like the softness of its release. I am not sure where you might find it other than Spec’s. If you do see it, the bottle has a great presentation and attractive label, but even more important it’s a good addition to any bourbon bar.

Age: 8 years
Proof: 93
Color: Cinnamon Brown
Aroma: grains, oak, pepper
Taste: vanilla, toasted oak, pepper
Price: $47.99 at Spec’s

Bar Review: The Post at Lamar Park (Corpus Christi, Texas)

While visiting our son, Burch, and his wife, Sara, in Corpus Christi a few weeks ago, they took us to a great spot called “The Post.” It’s a fun bar and restaurant in what was a United States Post Office in Corpus. AND, they have an excellent whiskey selection!

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Lynn had a Manhattan, and I had an Old Fashioned. Burch had a Texas Mule. All were excellent and you have quite a selection of Bourbon and Rye to select from for your drink.

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They have a fun “Classic Cocktails” section on the menu which includes the drinks we had plus a Mint Julep, Sazarac, Boulevardier, and more. If you don’t want whiskey (but who doesn’t!?), they have a good selection of beer and wine.

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After we ordered the drinks we went right into the Nosh, Graze, and Grub sections of the menu. Wow, what a fantastic selection. We were all hungry and ready to graze. We love to eat appetizers and small plates. We ordered the crispy brussels sprouts with house-cured bacon. What a great way to start, they were really good and everything is better with BACON. Next we had the “3 Little Piggies.” The 3 little piggies is just that, three 12 hour smoked pork shanks, with a sweet bourbon glaze. They are good sized pork shanks but 3 disappeared very quickly. I could go back and order 2 orders of those just for me. I am getting hungry just writing about them! The “Street Tacos” were next and equally good, I just love tacos from anywhere. We also had “The Hot Mess”– American aged cheddar, aged gouda and goat cheese, served on house made bread, grilled to perfection and served with a tomato basil dipping sauce. We added the Dr Pepper glazed ham to it. WOW, I better hop a plane and get back there. I am not done yet. We ended our meal with the “Beef Tenderloin Sandwich” with parmesan fries.

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But, if you know me, dinner is never the end of the meal — we had to have dessert. Dessert was a fantastic “Whiskey Cake” and 4 spoons. It was demolished in a very short order.

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If you ever find yourself in Corpus or North Padre Island, go to the National Sea Shore National Park, and eat at The Post at Lamar Park. What a great experience, classic drinks and whiskey, excellent food, and a fun atmosphere to enjoy friends or watch your favorite game. I have to use a post office cliché, “Don’t mail it in,” go and experience The Post in person.

Bourbon Bill is on Vacation!

Bourbon Bill would like to apologize to all my faithful readers. We are on vacation… again. Although I am gathering a lot of material for future blogs, I am having far too much fun to write. Hang in there, lots of great stops on our travels to share!

As you saw in my last blog, we were in Washington State for a wedding. The following weekend we headed to Northern Virginia for Stacey & Benji’s weeding. Great weekend, glad I took notes! Got to spend time with Taylor and Carter, see other friends while eating and drinking in some fun places.

Just left the Houston Airport where we had a refreshing, “Honey Bee” at Pappas Burger. The Honey Bee was made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Texas Silver Star Honey bourbon, fresh lime juice and blackberries. Garnished with a lime wedge and huge blackberry. It hit the spot along with a juicy half pound bacon cheeseburger. Headed to Corpus Christi to see my son, Burch, and his wife, Sara.

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Stay tuned for blogs from Virginia, Texas, and exciting Bourbon news!

Bourbon Bill

Bar Review: Whiskey Cake (again)

If you read my blog regularly you have probably already read about Whiskey Cake in Plano, TX. They have several hundred whiskies behind the bar. I was in Dallas last week (more specifically in Plano) on business. And once again I ended up at Whiskey Cake.

Lucky for me the chalkboard Happy Hour Cocktail Special was an Elijah Craig Old Fashioned for $5.00. I couldn’t resist and I wasn’t disappointed. They do a great job with their cocktails and its fun to just sit at the bar and watch their bartenders craft a lot of drinks. I love watching someone who enjoys their craft and is good at it.

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Well now for something off the menu I had not tried. The “OMG Burger” and it was amazing….! You can tell by the picture it’s a mouthful. The menu says they start with “onions, mushrooms, and goodness on a brisket burger, beer battered onion ring, roasted criminis, muenster, grain mustard, red chili mayo, lettuce, tomato, on put it on a challah bun.”

After the Old Fashioned, OMG Burger, and watching a lot of the Home Run Contest I decided it was time to finish off dinner with a Sazerac for my night cap. I had mine with Sazerac rye whiskey, simple, peychaud’s bitters, angostura bitters, absinthe rinse. A nice drink for $9.00.

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When in the Plano-area it is worth a trying Whiskey Cake. Great menu of appetizers, a lot of good sandwiches, main dishes, and salads.   But the main reason to go if you are a bourbon or rye drinker is their selection that you won’t find in many bars. They have been listed as one of the Top 50 Bourbon Bars in the USA.

They also do special dinners and the most recent was written on the Brown paper roll on the wall. A Whistle Pig pairing dinner. I can’t wait to go back and try something else on the menu!

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Bar Review: Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar (Plano, TX)

I have been to Bourbon Mecca in Texas, and it’s not in Dallas. It’s in Plano at Whiskey Cake Kitchen and Bar. I may start a turf war in Texas but IMHO there can’t be a better selection of bourbons in Dallas, maybe all of Texas. I looked and I looked and I looked. But at Whiskey Cake, I didn’t see anything missing. In a new brick building in Plano is a hip bar and restaurant with a southern spirits and food menu big on choices. There are so many choices you will get brain freeze picking from their over 150 offerings of the liquid gold. Whiskey Cake is named after their incredible whiskey cake. “D Magazine” has named it as the best Dallas dessert 3 years running.

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Whiskey Cake opened 5 years ago last November. It feels like an old downtown establishment. With a sitting area of sofas and chairs you feel just like you were having a drink at home. It is home to a Bourbon drinker. I started off with a Stagg Jr. from Buffalo Trace based on the suggestion of the bar staff. I had never had this one and I was told it was excellent and easier to find than the normal Stagg. It is a high proof bourbon at 134, with a lot of spice and body. Not to mention great color, very deep, very rich.   I followed that with an order of the deviled eggs which were egg-cellent. I know, bad joke, but they are incredible. I then ordered a Sazerac cocktail made with Rittenhouse Rye. Bartender Anthony made it for me and it was everything I expected and more. It was a nice follow-up to the Stagg Jr. and I complemented it with the fried green tomatoes with remoulade & lemon sauce.

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Bartender gear
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Stagg Jr.
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Deviled eggs
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Fried green tomatoes and a Sazerac cocktail

I met Chris, the Assistant General Manager. Chris said the incredible selection of bourbons are the passion and vision of Tanner Fleming, the General Manager.   Chris suggested I try the 13-year Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. I had not seen it prior to today. Well, that was incredible. I will not forget it after today. So smooth and so Van Winkle, words just can’t describe it. WOW! This is another great offering from Buffalo Trace you will not find in many bars.

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Last sip of 13-year Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye

The next time you are in the DFW area, take the time to drive to Whiskey Cake in Plano. The bar staff is all very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. The food was just as good as the strong bourbon selection. I didn’t have the time or capacity to try more of the menu but everyone I spoke with at the bar was enjoying their choices. I was very impressed and very happy as I left. By the way, I have been in the corrugated business for more years than I will mention. How could I not like an establishment that uses recycled corrugated with their name on it for coasters?

I ended the evening sipping the Van winkle and eating their incredible Whiskey Cake. Man that was sinful and so good.

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Photo from D Magazine