This was the rarest whiskey of 2020 (and there is just one barrel)

The legendary bourbon distillery Heaven Hill in Kentucky has really put the “limited” in the foreground with their limited bourbon for the 85th anniversary. They only released a single barrel of whiskey. It was the last rare release from the distillery and probably the rarest whiskey of 2020. In short, it’s a one-off release with a very limited volume of liquid.

Behind the scenes of this rare release

The 13-year-old bourbon with a barrel was filled on December 13, 2006 – an important date. December 13th commemorates the time when the distillery first filled a barrel in 1935. Heaven Hill did not specify how many bottles of this liquid are released, but the standard keg at this age contains fewer than 100 bottles of liquid. The best scenario would be around 110 bottles.

The company states that the keg came from warehouse G on the second floor and was cut to 107 proof – the original barrier entry certificate from the 1930s – before filling. It is not cold filtered.

This release follows the release of a similarly rare (and significantly older) limited edition from the distillery in 2018: Heaven Hill 27-Year-Old Barrel Proof. But 27-Year was made up of more than 40 barrels of whiskey distilled between 1989 and 1990, and was priced at $ 400, while this 85th anniversary is significantly cheaper and represents a significantly lower total volume of liquid.

Why the jubilee expectation is worth the hype

Anniversary bottlings can offer incredible investment and enjoyment opportunities. For example, some of the most sought-after Four Roses releases mark the 125th and 130th anniversaries – and the 50th anniversary of longtime employee Al Young, who passed away in 2019. Bookers 25 and 30, respectively, are some of the rarest products Jim Beam makes – and some of the tastiest. They are also worth three times what they were originally sold for.

Those older Heaven Hill releases can be a hit or a miss – the 27 year old was overwhelmed in our opinion – but 13 is an incredible sweet spot for most Kentucky Bourbons. Each bottle is hand numbered and presented in a custom-made wooden box that is satined and magnetically closed.

At $ 300, it’s among the most expensive retail prices for a single barrel bourbon we’ve seen in the past few years (before market inflation was taken into account), and the distillery hasn’t shared any tasting notes yet.

The bottle started hitting the market around December 13th, but as retailers across the country move into the resale market, you actually stand a better chance of finding it in store than last year – at a significantly higher price.

If you’re looking for something cheaper and easier to find, find a bottle of this bourbon that isn’t a problem at a fraction of the price. It was originally only released at Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and select liquor stores in Kentucky, but thanks to a growing (legal) resale market, it’s likely to find its way across the country in the coming months – at higher prices, of course.


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