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Newest Bourbon Review: Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

November 28, 2011

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

This bourbon comes from Heaven Hill Distillery. Its brother bourbons are Elijah Craig, Evan Williams and Heaven Hill. The distillery states that this is a bourbon that “…this is extra-aged and bottled in bond as a Single Barrel Bourbon. Henry McKenna Single Barrel is aged 10 years before each “honey barrel” is dumped and bottled as is. At 10 years and 100 proof, it meets the exacting US government standards for a true bottled in bond Bourbon”. I believe all of it except the bottled “as is” statement. There are only a few bourbons currently being produced that are at or under 100 Proof without being cut and filtered. They come from a much different bourbon maker. Nevertheless I do enjoy Heaven Hills bourbon expressions and I hope to enjoy this one as well.

To the bourbon:

100 Proof Single Barrel

Age: 10 years

Bottle Statements:

Bottled in Bond “Aged 10 years”

Barrel No. 645

Barreled On 11/8/2000

First notes:

The bottle is very dressed up. Green is the staple color which dresses it and a copper stamped tag hangs from its side. The tag reads “Bottled in Bond”. There is also a leaflet on the front of the bottle which has some history and information; which is entitled, “The Connoisseurs Edition”. I do not recommend opening it or removing it if you would like to keep the presentation of the bottle intact. It is glued together and presents some difficulty removing/opening it. Side note: The bottle is very dressed up but, it has a screw topper. One would think that the bottle would have a nice cork topper but, it does not. I guess the distillery decided to spend the money on the outside presentation of the bottle.


The color has a deep and rich amber tone to it.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is of sweet corn. Zero nose of the Proof within.

Nose in a glass:

The proof shows itself in the glass a bit more. Notes of corn, spice, caramel and ripe peaches present themselves.


The taste and palate presence is much different from the nose. A rich peppery spice and rye notes envelop the mouth and tongue. Nutty, oak and char notes come out in the end. The flavor is much different from other bourbons. Not much vanilla or caramel is presented in this 10 year. The palate intensity and presence is nice but, the flavor is quite different. There are definite notes of peach in the middle to end of the profile which create a bit of unwanted pungency. The intensity is medium and could be enjoyed neat or with a bit of ice or water (may be preferred for first time bourbon drinkers).


This bourbon will grow on you, if you let it; and each barrel may be a bit different. The first time that I tasted this bourbon was not the most pleasurable experience. I could not get over the bit of unwanted pungency. After a few sips (or glasses) it can grow on you and you may even come to enjoy it. This may end up starting a controversy among enthusiast but, so be it. I feel some may like it and others may not. Another bourbon similar (only in the sense of having a different taste and palate presence) is Johnny Drum Private Stock – to be reviewed at a later date.

Henry McKenna Single Barrel may not be an everyday drinker for me but, it is certainly much better than many other whiskeys. It does have a bit more flavor and complexity than its brother bourbons but, it may not stack up against them. On a Side Note: I am also a little bummed about the screw topper on this bottle. Most of the time, a screw topper does not concern me. If the bourbon is phenomenal then I do not care that it has a screw topper (which does happen more often than not). But, sometimes if the bourbon is a bit under par for quality, flavor or bottle presentation then a lowly screw topper becomes problematic.

Outsider review:

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon 10 Year has a peppery nose with a touch of spice and citrus that leads to a palate of oak and vanilla with rounded notes of rye and malt. Best enjoyed over ice or with just a touch of water to get the rye aromatics lifted over the glass’ rim

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rick In Mi permalink
    November 28, 2012 10:59 pm

    I recently purchased a bottle from barrel #758 dated 10/5/01. I find it terrific.

  2. chuck permalink
    April 10, 2013 10:14 pm

    I just opened one from Heaven Hills and I really liked it a lot


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