Well, let’s throw down the first bourbon review of 2015. Henry McKenna is a single barrel bourbon out of Heaven Hill in Bardstown, KY. This is not one of Heaven Hill’s biggest name brands, but the general quality of Heaven Hill certainly made me think this was going to be a good bourbon. If the other bourbons I have had in this same age range (Evan Williams Single Barrel series) had any bearing, this was going to be a good bourbon. The bottle I am reviewing here is from Barrel 1488, and it is bottled-in-bond at 100 proof (50% abv).
The color is a rich, dark russet, just beautiful in the glass. The color is almost indescribable in its striking beauty, like the rich hues of a summer sunset (pictured). The nose is dry and woody, like tree bark that has been dipped in a bit of vanilla extract. The palate is also a very dry presentation, with dry tree bark, caramel, cinnamon, and some nutmeg. The finish leaves the palate very dry, with a lot of wood and some cinnamon spice.
Overall, this is a much different profile from what I was expecting, given my prior exposure to the Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbons. This is one of the woodiest bourbons that I have encountered, and most certainly one of the driest in a good way, like that weird uncle everybody has. This is a rich bourbon that is especially good for this time of year, with its viscous wood notes. Like many single barrel bourbons, I suspect that this label varies a bit, but if this barrel is anything to go on, its worth giving it a shot. My grade: B. Price: $30-35/750ml. For the price point and the age, this is a very solid bourbon.