Heaven Hill Distillery has announced the latest release in its Heritage Collection: an 18 year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Released each Spring, the Heritage Collection focuses on the distillery’s traditional mash bills and oldest inventory. Previous national releases have included a 17 year-old Kentucky bourbon (2022) and a 20 year-old corn whiskey (2023).

According to Heaven Hill, the 2024 bottling comes from 133 barrels laid down in December 2005. The whiskey was distilled from a mashbill of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye. It’s the same recipe used in other Heaven Hill bourbons, including the Evan Williams, Henry McKenna, and Elijah Craig lines.

All barrels in the release were aged on the third floor of Rickhouse 1I.

“We now have over 2 million barrels aging,” master distiller Conor O’Driscoll told VinePair in an exclusive interview. “Rickhouse 1I is 12 stories, it’s almost 100 years old, it’s a large brick and concrete building. It’s got 80,000 barrels aging, and it’s particularly good at aging older whiskeys. When you taste this 18-year-old, it’s remarkably soft and subtle and gentle, and there is no overpowering wood.”

O’Driscoll further emphasized the potential risks and temptations in releasing ultra-aged American whiskey. For him and his team, a main challenge in curating Heritage Collection releases is finding well-aged stock at the peak of flavor — without going too far over.

“Our guiding North Star is that the whiskey has to taste good. It doesn’t matter if it’s 22 and a half years-old if it tastes like a dirty old stick,” he says. “There’s a lot of very expensive, very sought after whiskey out there with big age statements on it. And in my opinion, they don’t always taste that good.”

O’Driscoll contrasted the brand’s Heritage Collection — which will typically feature whiskeys aged at least 15 years — with another annual Heaven Hill line: the Parker’s Heritage Collection.

“The Heaven Hill Heritage Collection is released in the Spring, and Parker’s comes out in the Fall,” O’Driscoll told VinePair. “The Heritage Collection is more classic, more traditional. We’re not doing weird mash bills or new barrel finishes. Whereas Parker’s is a lot more innovative. So you will see different barrel finishes, different chars, different mashbills.”

The 18 year-old Heritage Collection bourbon will be released in March 2024 at 120 proof. Heaven Hill representatives told VinePair that after dumping all 133 barrels, the batch’s initial proof was above 150.

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 18 Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey releases to select retailers nationally. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $299.99.

Curious about our opinion of the release? Tasted by VinePair contributor David Thomas Tao, check out our extended Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey review.