Henry McKenna 10 Bourbon – Distiller: Heaven Hill. ABV: 50%. Age: 10 years. Mashbill: 75% corn, 13% rye, 12% malted barley. Price: $25-30.
The Henry McKenna 10 Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon is an increasingly rarity: a high-quality, age-stated bourbon that comes at a very reasonable price.
As a single barrel, there’s always going to be a certain amount of variation in the Henry McKenna 10, but the high quality of these has been very consistent. I found this particular bottle at the back of the shelf of a local store, and it turned out to be from a batch that was distilled in 2002. I was excited to check it out.
On the nose are notes of freshly cut wood with a very small hint of char (like laser-cut wood), mixed with warm new leather that’s been sitting out in the sun. I got notes of dried apple and black cherry too. The palate starts with medium sweetness, combined with herbal spices and cinnamon notes that provide a pleasant dose of heat. All of this is layered on top of a lovely base of damp oak. The finish is long, spicy, and on the dry side, with red and black licorice, barrel char, and burnt sugar. Echo of coconut toward the end. Impressive.
This was a good barrel indeed, and it reminds me why I always come back to this great bourbon, especially given its price point. McKenna 10 can compete with many bourbons on the market these days that are twice or even three times the price. Let’s hear it for Heaven Hill–and hope they keep this little gem just the way it is!
Cheers, friends! – JTR