Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bottled in Bond

88 Solid

If some bourbons can be criticized for being a bit too weak, with the flavors too subtle, this bourbon certainly avoids that pitfall. Like the big bourbons of ages past, it takes classic bourbon flavor and smacks you in the face with it.

Stats: glencairn-amazon

  • Barrel # 1052
  • Private Barrel Retailer: Liquor Barn (Barrel 1 #4524353)
  • Aged 10 years  (Barreled on Feb 27, 2003)
  • 50% ABV (100 Proof) Bottled-in-Bond
  • Price: $30
  • Distilled by Heaven Hill Distilleries

 

What it is:

Henry McKenna is a Heaven Hill produced bourbon out of the Louisville, KY Bernheim Distillery.  This single barrel bourbon is bottled in bond after aging ten years in a federally bonded warehouse near Bardstown, KY.   This particular bottle is from a private selection program at a local liquor store in which a retailer selects a barrel from the warehouse after sampling several and is able to offer all the bottles from that barrel to its customers.

 

Packaging:McKenna BiB 10 Year 1

McKenna Single Barrel is bottled in a short, squat bottle with cream and green labeling.    The Bottled-in-bond seal covers the screw-top cap, and handwritten barrel and bottle information marks the lower front of the label.  I wouldn’t call it unattractive, but it won’t draw attention on your shelf.

Appearance:McKenna BiB 10 Year 2

Deep Mahogany and amber. Inviting.

Aroma:

Mint is the first aroma to hit the nose, a characteristic of the Heaven Hill yeast strains.  But citrus fruit and caramel follow with strong woody oak hints.

Taste:

Caramel is the first flavor that hits right on the tip of the tongue with butterscotch flavors developing through the mid tongue.  Hints of vanilla range through with some orange peel on the edges.  Strong oak and tannin hits the back of the tongue.

Finish:

Pleasing and long, there is a definite pepper spice on the end with tannins and oak lingering along with that hint of mint.

Synopsis:

A surprisingly satisfying bourbon.  It isn’t nuanced, per say, but it’s solid throughout.  Its 100 proof makes it stand up well to water or ice, and adding distilled water brings out the citrus aromas even more strongly.   If some bourbons can be criticized for being a bit too weak, with the flavors too subtle, this bourbon certainly avoids that pitfall. Like the big bourbons of ages past, it takes classic bourbon flavor and smacks you in the face with it.  It’s a product of a no-regrets and no-frills distilling philosophy that makes no apologies for what it is, and makes no compromises. It’s straight forward, powerful, and quite enjoyable.

ModernThirst.com score: 88 out of 100

What does that score mean?

Compare to: Evan Williams Single Barrel

 

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About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. Since college, he has dabbled in beer, bourbon, wine tasting, beer making, and currently works in finance. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.

5 Comments

  1. I really enjoy this bourbon…while there is a lot going on, I find it very drinkable. It would probably work well in cocktails, but I like it with a small cube of ice.

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  5. This is one of my favorites. You can’t accuse this one of being nuanced. Big Butterscotch with a lingering musty oak/leather finish that lasts and lasts. I read another review that referred to it as “Mullet Whiskey”. That’s about as good a description as any.

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