Heaven Hill is undoubtedly one of the most prolific distilleries. Whether you’re looking for a cheap mixer, a reliable daily, or a true special occasion bottle, Heaven Hill will almost certainly be in the running. This is doubly so when it comes to the more budget-oriented drinker. The Evan Williams line alone screams “high value,” with the bonded white label drawing the most praise. For a time, Heaven Hill had an age-stated bottled in bond product that people swarmed to, and although it’s since been replaced (we’ll discuss that in another post), it has a little-known, lower proof sibling still being produced and sold exclusively in Kentucky.
Enter Heaven Hill Green Label 6-Year, or as I like to call it, “Little Green.” Some might call this a true mystery bottle since it’s one of those that has no webpage dedicated to it. One detail about the bottle I didn’t notice until taking notes is the statement that “every drop is charcoal filtered.” Whether that’s before or after barreling I suppose is for us to ponder. Perhaps the biggest attention-grabber with this bottle, however, is its price. I bought mine at a Total Wine for $13, but have heard that it used to cost under $10. Where I live, the best bottle $10-$13 gets you is Evan Williams Black or Jim Beam. Let’s see if Little Green can stand out from a small collection of long-hanging fruits.
Nose: Fairly light and simple, but it checks most of the boxes. Wood, dry roasted nuts with a bit of light brown sugar and hints of licorice. Post-sip brings out more distinct notes of caramel, vanilla, and cherry. Essentially a pitch-perfect budget bourbon nose.
Palate: Light without being thin. Respectable oak presence with gentle waves of peanuts and caramel. A bit of butter comes in on subsequent sips, giving this a brief, added layer of richness.
Finish: A touch short but retains a distinct presence of peanut butter and bit of cherry. Steady breeze of oak and hints of chocolate. Good example of “nice while it lasted.”
Color me impressed. Given the price range this exists in, the best I expected was a thin, light, and barely tolerable whiskey. The reality is that this could slap some bottles that cost multiple times its price (looking at your, Very Olde Saint Nick). Having a 6-year age statement isn’t necessarily impressive these days, but this bottle is so rounded out that I’d be surprised if there isn’t older whiskey mingled in. If that is the case, then the potential value proposition for this bottle goes from the ceiling to the clouds.
I feel like the space Heaven Hill Green Label 6-Year exists in makes it something of a relic, a reminder of what bourbon was like before its popularity exploded into what we see today. The lack of an online presence combined with it being exclusive to Kentucky means many people pay it little to no mind. The price point is the definition of “agreeable” with the whiskey itself exceeding what one might anticipate from a bottle of this nature. Finally, you get a completely enjoyable drinking experience without feeling any sort of guilt or remorse: the whiskey is right, and the price is right. Availability may be limited (no, not that kind of limited), but if nothing else it makes a nice bonus to exploring bourbon country.