It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Henry McKenna Single Barrel is a great choice in bourbon. It's ten years old, bonded (100 proof), and barrel selected. Heaven Hill distillery seemingly did everything right when they conceived of the product. As good as all of that is, it used to be even better than it is today.
I found a review online for the very first barrel of HMSB ever chosen for bottling in 1994. The difference in the color alone speaks volumes (pictures). I'll let the person who posted the review elaborate further:
"Color: I don't usually remark on color but it's quite a few shades darker than the modern version. I would have guessed it was much older or barrel proof based on the color alone.
Nose: Smells like a dusty, vintage bourbon. It's mostly classic bourbon scents but the wood and sweet aromas are so incredibly dense. The current bottling smells young and fruity in comparison which is crazy because it's anything but that for me usually.
Taste: Very much like the nose, with all of the characteristics of a vintage dusty bourbon. The mouthfeel is so thick it borders on drinking syrup rather than whiskey. The flavors here are straight up classic bourbon with very dense honey, caramel, and also a little dark pitted fruits like prunes or cherries. The woodiness is very heavy also but it doesn't taste super old. It just tastes like highly concentrated bourbon without the higher proof that it usually takes to do that. Tasting the current bottling next to this is a similar failure as the nosing - it tastes thin, slightly young, and a bit fruity. Again that's crazy because on a normal day I would say current McKenna is pretty good and certainly tastes its age.
Thoughts: This is one of the best bourbons I have ever tasted. People go crazy over dusty Wild Turkey and to me this tastes like that only with more honey and sugary sweetness but less rye spice bite. I don't know why vintage bourbon is so amazing but what I can say this runs circles around the current product and is better than just about everything else I've tasted released in this decade.
Needless to say, it's the Holy Grail of bourbon for me. The adage "they don't make 'em like that anymore" certainly holds true in this case. I'd rather own that particular bottle more than a bottle of any other whisk(e)y. It's unfortunate that even the chance of obtaining a sample is highly unlikely.
The golden age of bourbon is over.
The golden age is not over man. You will get the old bourbon whiskey on online....
Copyright © 1994-2019Whisky.com Media GmbH & Co. KG
Am Grundwassersee 4 · DE 82402 Seeshaupt · Germany
Advertising on Whisky.com