Parker’s Heritage Collection “Promise of Hope”

PARKER’S HERITAGE COLLECTION “PROMISE OF HOPE”

SPIRIT: Bourbon

VOLUME: 750 ml

ABV/PROOF: 48/96

AGE: 10 years

Heaven Hill introduced the Parker’s Heritage Collection in 2007 to showcase the talents of its esteemed master distiller, Parker Beam. From barrel-proof bruisers to graceful finished whiskeys, the annual limited edition series eventually caught the attention of spirits connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. 

By the time Heaven Hill began planning for the 7th edition of the collection in 2013, they were facing a crisis. Beam had recently been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS (or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” in the United States). According to Heaven Hill’s long-time brand ambassador Bernie Lubbers, Heaven Hill’s president, Max Shapira, and the PHC brand team were determined to find something special to honor Beam’s courageous fight. They decided the 7th edition should be a combination of “all of Parker’s favorite things,” and the result is the now-revered Promise of Hope.

Unlike previous PHC releases, Promise of Hope is a single-barrel expression. Beam personally selected a hundred 10-year-old barrels from the 80-year-old rickhouse EE, located in the town of Deatsville. While many whiskey insiders claim that EE was Beam’s favorite rickhouse, Lubbers recalls a conversation with the late master distiller in which Parker stated, “Bernie, there’s no change in elevation on the entire [Deatsville] site; it’s all the same level.” While rickhouse EE may or may not have been Parker’s favorite maturation location, the Deatsville campus most certainly was.

After the selection process was completed, the 100 choice barrels of high-rye Kentucky straight bourbon were dumped, non-chill filtered and bottled at 96 proof, Parker’s preferred potency. At the time, chill filtration was an industry-standard practice for American whiskey under 100 proof. While the impact of chill filtration (or lack thereof) remains a topic of considerable debate, Parker apparently felt his bourbon was better off without it.

Promise of Hope received mixed reactions from critics. Some claimed the specifications were too similar to Henry McKenna Bottled in Bond, a relatively inexpensive 10-year, 100-proof single-barrel bourbon, while others championed the thought of a bourbon tied so closely to Parker’s idea of perfection. The $90 suggested retail price seemed hefty for the time, though $20 from each bottle sold went to the ALS Association’s Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund, an initiative to discover a cure for the neurodegenerative disease.

Over time the whiskey community rallied around Promise of Hope, showering it with praise and accolades. Today, it is frequently hailed as a flawless bourbon. 

Release: Parker’s Heritage Collection “Promise of Hope” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

 Spirit: Bourbon

Producer: Heaven Hill

Misc.: The reverse label reads: 

In partnership with the ALS Association, Heaven Hill Distilleries is promoting awareness to battle the disease with which Master Distiller Parker Beam has been diagnosed. For this 7th release, Parker has selected a Bourbon comprised of all his favorite attributes in terms of style, age, rickhouse location and proof. All of this leads to a Bourbon that is the embodiment of Parker Beam. When you purchase this rare offering, not only will you be getting a superior Bourbon, but proceeds from this very bottle will be donated to support the work of the ALS Association.

Collectors’ tips: Like other PHC bottlings, Promise of Hope includes a booklet affixed to the neck of the bottle. It is a single-barrel expression, though labels do not specify a barrel number. No official bottle count has been released by Heaven Hill, though it projected the total charitable donation for Promise of Hope to be $250,000. Based on the $20 donation per bottle, roughly 12,500 bottles were filled and sold.

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