Henry Mckenna, 2018’s SF World Spirits Competition “best single barrel bourbon”.
Try saying that 3 times after a few drams of Henry McKenna single barrel BIB. This is a Bottled-in-Bond offering from Heaven Hill. Some of you are like “hell yeah, I love a good BIB”, and some of you are like “what the fudge does Bottled-in-Bond mean?!”.
Well, Bottled-in-Bond is a set of legal regulations contained in the United States government’s Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits, that was originally laid out in The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. This made the federal government the guarantor of the authenticity of the spirit and then some tax stuff. But there are some stipulations to having your whiskey labelled Bottled-in-Bond or Bonded.
Here we go.
First off, only spirits made in the U.S of A can be labeled Bonded. Your liquor must be distilled by one distiller at one distillery. It must also be a product of one distillation season (January-June or July–December). It must have been aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof or 50% ABV. The label must identify the distillery where it was distilled and, where it was bottled if different.
Creating the Bonded Act was actually to control the quality of bourbon whiskey. Because, before the BIB act of 1897, whiskey being sold as straight whiskey was in fact, NOT. They were putting all kinds of gross stuff in it to procure more liquor and change the colour. I’m talking nails, tobacco, and even iodine.
Having BIB or Bonded on your label has garnered the attraction of some consumers as being an endorsement of the quality, and during those tragic times when tobacco spit could be used as a colour enhancer…this was a very good thing.
Now let’s get into Henry McKenna the best single barrel bourbon of 2018.
Henry Mckenna is a product of the Heaven Hill distillery in Bardstown KY (sidenote: saying KY in front of Barbara my fellow co-host on the Bourbon Bettys, will make her giggle like a schoolgirl in health class). According to their website, it’s the longest-aged Bottled-in-Bond bourbon available today.
So, I know I’m tardy to the Henry McKenna party, but I live in Canada and it didn’t make its way organically to my province. So my Pal Brodie hooked me up. I was seriously dying to try this rather inexpensive bourbon that won such a prestigious title. Now I have a bottle and here’s what I think.
I absolutely believe it’s a great bourbon for the value. Not fussy and an easy sipper. It’s all caramel and dark fruits for me, with a nice long spicy finish. Heaven Hill definitely has others in its lineup, that quite frankly…I would love to never have again. But it ain’t Henry Mckenna. If this was something that was readily available to me, I would make it my house bourbon.