Hayes Parker Reserve Scoresheet & Review

If there’s one thing people always want more of, it’s convenience. Discover a way to make things easier on society and perked ears will almost certainly be in your future. The minds behind TerraPURE Spirits certainly had a grasp on this. After all, people love whiskey and whiskey takes time, so why not explore avenues to craft a product that provides the experience of older whiskey for a fraction of the time?

Such begs the question: Who or what is TerraPURE, exactly? Based out of North Charleston in South Carolina, the patented TerraPure process was developed by Terressentia in the US and is described as a way to clean and refine spirits, “as well as rapidly ageing, filtering, purifying, and flavoring.” This is achieved through ultrasonic oxidation during “primary” distillation, for the sake of forgoing time-consuming procedures like filtration, repeat distillations, and even barrel aging. It’s an allegedly natural and “independently proven” process that reduces “unwanted congeners and induce a conversion of certain fatty acids to esters (glycerides), thereby creating a much smoother mouth feel and enhanced taste and flavour.” These congeners include isobutanol, amyl alcohols, propanol, and methanol.

For the more health-focused crowd, this information probably sounds like a breakthrough. Drinking while cutting back on ostensibly unwanted substances? That has a to be a win-win. Sometimes we have to give seemingly innovative products a fair shake as well. After all, if we’re not receptive to new and potentially superior processes, how then can we improve?

Since TerraPure is a process, it means multiple brands can (and do) make use of it. Shoppers of budget whiskey bottles at Total Wine may have glanced at the likes of Winchester and Hayes Parker, for example. But who (or what) is Hayes Parker? Only the minds behind the brand may know, because as far as I could find, there’s no figure by the name of Hayes Parker, historic or otherwise, for a whiskey brand to take its name after. As for Terressentia, they seem to be a bigger player than one might suspect, especially after a quick Google search suggests their North Charleston location is permanently closed. Part of the reason is that Terressentia bought what used to be the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in 2014 and is now Green River Distilling (yes, that one).

Beyond that, the only information I can provide is statistical: aged a minimum of 6 months, bottled at 45% ABV, and sold for just over $10 exclusively at Total Wine. 

Nose: Clearly young and watery. Pennies and damp cardboard. There’s an approximation of corn and vanilla but it’s muted and buried beneath that metallic personality that transports me to a factory setting. It makes me miss the more authentic, floury corn note of other young bourbons. You could tell me this was weak hand sanitizer distilled from melted pennies and I’d believe you.

Palate: Honey mixed with sugary copper. Cardboard and old, dusty rug. Thin, abrasive, and vodka-like in essence. It’s too weak to pass for a decent whiskey and too dirty to pass for a neutral spirit. I don’t know who this is for.

Finish: Thankfully short-lived flavor-wise with no sour, lingering notes. Otherwise it’s mostly drying ethanol heat that leaves me yearning for actual flavor.

And sometimes granting the benefit of the doubt feels overly generous. It’s abundantly clear that this whiskey isn’t just underdeveloped, but unusually developed. The notes pulled from this strike a bizarre balance between young, muted, and unpleasant. Pennies and manufacturing environments aren’t exactly tell-tale signs of respectable bourbon, and yet they most appropriately define this one. Other young whiskeys that forego the TerraPure process are more pleasant since there’s more of an actual (and decent) grain flavor to them. To that end, Hayes Parker is reminiscent of work while the likes of Hudson Baby Bourbon at least evoke a fair or farm-like association.

The idea behind Hayes Parker Reserve and its siblings is to provide an experience comparable to bottles multiple times its actual age, a task it utterly fails to accomplish. It’s to the point that I can’t imagine a drinker this is actually intended for. From a customer standpoint I can understand a morbid curiosity, especially at such a low price point. However, once this whiskey is experienced it’s impossible to imagine any reason to return beyond making other whiskeys made more traditionally taste that much better. Even Jim Beam White tastes dense, rich, and delectable coming off the heels of this filth.


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