Sunday, November 16, 2008

Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon

In the world of bargain whiskey, it’s important to be able to differentiate yourself from the hordes of plastic-jugged dopplegangers competing with you for that all important shelf-space. Most do it with a name—usually something that’s really folksy or southern-sounding or evocative of cowboys. That, or they just name it after some dude with a really American sounding name. I like to pretend that in real life, the Evan Willamses and Ezra Brookses of the world were really just legendary drunks who reached such awe-inspiring levels of alcoholism that they were no longer shunned for being degenerate drinkers, but championed as iron-livered heroes and given their own distilleries as a sign of respect.

Heaven Hill isn’t really evocative of too much—yeah, it’s a place, but it’s a hill. Big deal, it’s probably like 50 feet above sea-level; This is America, we do things big here—I’ll hold out for Heaven Mountain. That’s what i’m talking about. Snow capped peaks and shit. Real majestic.

But Heaven Hill’s name does have something going for it—I can’t think about it without getting “the Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill” by the totally underrated post-punk band Husker Du stuck in my head. And that’s why it’s my absolute favorite cheap whiskey.

If you’re considering a bottle of Heaven Hill, you probably have a decent idea of what you’re getting into—it’s right there on the shelf, sitting next to all the other those plastic jugs filled with questionable brown liquor, with maybe a 1 dollar price difference between them all. But if you look around the shelf a bit, you’ll notice something odd—A one-liter bottle of Heaven Hill. A one-liter glass bottle. And that’s all the reassurance I require.

As far as taste goes, I wouldn’t throw it in my flask unless I was really desperate, and I’d probably only drink it on the rocks with a little bit of water added. And shots? Only if you’re a glutton for punishment. But mixing is where Heaven Hill really shines—if you’re planning on a night of whiskey and cokes or whiskey sours, there’s no reason to spring for anything else. If your drink tastes bad, don’t blame the bottle—blame your pouring hand.


Good for mixing on a budget


- Scott

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