The picture says it all, or almost all: from right to left, Heaven Hill prez Max Shapira watches as Parker Beam "thiefs" samples of Barrel #1 of this year's Evan Williams Single Barrel, distilled in 2000, into glasses held by Craig Beam. It was the moment of the evening.
And the whiskey? One of the good ones. It came out of the barrel at 142.9 proof, quite high for these selections; Max thought it was the highest. The barrel came from the 7th floor of Warehouse Z (I think Parker said Z). But it was definitely drinkable at that proof: as I Tweeted last night, "Nice. Good oak, spicy, but a nice slippery sweetness, like sugar maple sap. Wicked smooth even at full proof." Then as a pitcher came around, "A touch of water brings out more depth to the oak and vanilla. A nice blend of bourbon's strengths: sweet, spice, & oaky dryness."
I'm looking forward to having more when I get home, even though it's going to be at 43.3%. We did just kind of wonder...wouldn't it be cool if Heaven Hill bottled a limited run of 1,000 bottles of this stuff at barrel proof? Woof.
We went back to the Proof bar afterwards, had DFH 60 Minute (a lot of that), then a Los Angeles cocktail, a whiskey sour variation that was deliciously creamy smooth. Hung out with John, Larry Kass, Josh Hafer (both Heaven Hill folks we've known a long time), Alan Katz, Gary Regan, Mark Gillespie, the two guys from Los Angeles (guys, it was a long night; shoot me your info, be glad to put a link up to your bar (they're trying to bring classic cocktails to LA, folks)), and some others; it was a big, friendly crowd. And now...it's morning, and time to head for the airport. Fun weekend, but I'm ready to go home.