Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel Bottled-In-Bond Review

Sunday Evening Review


On this 4th of July, I pull out a bottle that is named after a person that represents what this country was built on. This week I review Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bottled-In-Bond to find out if the bourbon in the bottle is worthy for the man it is named after.


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bottled-In-Bond


PROOF – 100


AGE – 10 years


COLOR – Weathered Wicker (1.4 Tawny on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Amber honey, honeysuckle, vanilla crème, malted cereal, musty oak, sweet tobacco and roasted peanut


TASTE – Musty oak along with oak spice is there in spades. Dark caramel, honey roasted peanuts, orange peel, and cinnamon.


FINISH – I would call this a medium finish. The musty oak is throughout the entire journey and the amber honey from the nose appears again. Cinnamon blends in also.


REVIEW – This is a pleasant pour but if you don’t like oak this may not be for you. Now again it is a single barrel so they are all a bit different. To give you a reference is that the Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond has corn sweetness that this doesn’t and Heaven Hill 7 year Bottled-In-Bond is similar but pulls back on the oak forwardness. The nose is interesting and rich and the palate is good it just has a big musty oak note that is there and you must like.


FINAL COMMENTS – Henry McKenna was an Irish immigrant that was born in Ireland in 1819 and arrived in Kentucky in 1839. He worked as a laborer mainly on road crews as many immigrants did at the time. He set out to make a better life for himself and also not labor as hard for his money. Here is an excerpt from the Whiskey University


Several years moved to a small town just north of today’s Bardstown. It was there in Fairfield, Kentucky in 1855 that he opened a flour mill. Henry bought a plot of land at the edge of town, built a grain elevator and mill, and set about grinding wheat into flour for their neighbors.  In those days the gristing process yielded a great deal waste.  Because he had so much waste and nothing of consequence to do with Henry bought a farm and fed the waste to farm animals like pigs. But he had too much waste from the mill that he had to find find something to do with the rest, so he decided to turn the rest into wheat whiskey. McKenna set up a wooden still in the back of his flour mill and began turning out about a barrel of whiskey a day. At first he used only wheat to make wheat whiskey but eventually turned to the most prevalent and affordable grain in the Commonwealth in corn to make his whiskey.  With corn and a charred oak barrel McKenna experimented and learned the art of making true bourbon. 

Here is the part of the story that most don’t know. In 1892 Congress introduced a bill asking for a 5-year bonding time for bourbon whiskey.  Although it does not pass that year the bill was known as “The McKenna Bill.” Less than a year later McKenna passed away.


McKenna represented a lot of what the USA was built on which is hard work, seizing on an opportunity, innovation and the freedom to make a better life for yourself.


Everyone have a great 4th of July weekend!






Evan Williams 12 Year Review

Sunday Evening Review


Not many times do you get a bourbon that’s roots are from outside of the United States. Most bourbon producers will gladly tell you how their start comes from wherever their distillery is located. This bourbon product though was intended from the beginning to be in foreign lands. More on that later but let’s see if this Evan Williams 12 Year bourbon was a gesture of kindness or was it considered an insult to our foreign friends.


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Evan Williams 12 Year


PROOF – 101


AGE – 12 years old


COLOR – smoked paprika (1.6 mahogany, henna notes on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla frosting, apple pie filling, charred oak, tanned leather and cocoa powder.


TASTE – The nose doesn’t lie on this one. You get all that caramel, brown sugar, vanilla frosting, cinnamon and charred oak along with the apple pie filling. The chocolate note may slightly go more to a dark chocolate and the leather is more aged than on the nose.


FINISH – I would call this a medium to long finish. The brown sugar, charred oak and the aged leather stays along with some roasted peanut.


REVIEW – This bourbon gives you everything that made you fall in love with bourbon. There is nothing highly unique about this pour, but it does everything very well and gives you the experience you wish every bourbon you drink would measure up to. Now just because it isn’t unique doesn’t mean it doesn’t stand out. I compare this to a Rolex. There is lots of ways to tell time and many watches made but there is a reason that Rolex is the standard by which timepieces are measures. I would consider this bottle the same.


FINAL COMMENTS – Time to payoff the tease from above. The Evan Williams 12 Year was produced for the purpose of the Japanese market and up to 2013 that was the only place you could find it. The rumor is that it was a product they made exclusive to Japan almost as a thank you for continuing to drink bourbon in the 80’s when the U.S. market almost completely abandoned it. Today the only place in the U.S. to find it is at the Evan Williams Experience in Louisville for $130 at last check. I have heard that in Japan it is a sub-$40 bottle and everywhere. I know there are several here that have connections that make trips to Japan. You do the rest of the math.


One thing with this that throws you right from the beginning on a bottle you paid $130 for is all this gold wax is covering a screw top. Nothing wrong with it and probably preferred for a “special occasion” whiskey. It’s also plastic versus a metal top like Weller, which again I prefer.


Another thing that can clear up a myth that I hear repeated is that it can’t be bourbon if it is charcoaled filtered. Only Tennessee whiskey does that. That is not true as several bourbons charcoal filter (this one included) and is every bit a bourbon. The rule is you can’t ADD anything but water. Charcoal filter just would take away and actually recreates what happens inside the barrel with the charred oak.

To find out more check it out here – Evan Williams

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof COWS Pick Review



The first COWS barrel pick of 2022 is finally close to coming in. This was picked back in November but (fingers crossed) it should be in within a month. We are starting off strong with an Elijah Craig Barrel Proof pick that was named “Needs More COWS Bell.” Let’s see if it will make you say, “Need another pour of that!”


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Elijah Craig Barrel Proof “Needs More COWS Bell”


PROOF – 124.3


AGE – 8 years


COLOR – worn copper kettle (1.5 auburn, polished mahogany on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Amber honey, caramel, buttered biscuits, vanilla frosting, canned plums, Bing cherry, cinnamon, roasted almonds, and cigar tobacco. Would never guess this is 124 proof on the nose. Almost no ethanol.


TASTE – Cinnamon and peanut brittle on the first taste. As you continue to explore you get warn leather, cigar tobacco, vanilla, charred oak, toasted pecan, Bing cherry and rye spice.


FINISH – I would call this a long finish. This sits on the side and back of your tongue and refuses to leave. Oak spice, leather, tobacco, and cinnamon stay until the end.


REVIEW – You could nose this whiskey for 3 days and never get tired of it. Just an absolute insane nose on this. The nose fools you that this really isn’t 124 proof but when it hits your palate it lets you know the label doesn’t lie. Very bold whiskey that for 8 years is something really special. Have had other Elijah Craig Barrel Proofs at 12 years that isn’t this complex or bold. This is complex and the finish on this is one of the longest I have ever experienced. Take your time with this one as you want to allow the whiskey to give the full experience.


FINAL COMMENTS – 2021 was the first year for Heaven Hill to finally do barrel proof Elijah Craig picks. All picks are 11 years or less as they save the 12 year barrels for the 3 releases that Heaven Hill does with the “shelfer” Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.


The 3 barrels we sampled were all from Heaven Hill’s main campus rickhouses. Our pick was from rickhouse T on the 5th floor. The others were 11 years old, 112.8 proof, rickhouse M and on the 1st floor. The last barrel was 10 years old, 122.6 proof, rickhouse Q, and on the 3rd floor. As you can see we picked the youngest. Its why we do the picks blind so that we pick the best one and not on proof or age or what rickhouse. Taste is all that matters.


The picture shown is the bottle hanger that will be on the bottle. The name came from  the members with “Need More COWS Bell” being the one chosen. This bottle is sure to be one of the absolute favorites of all the COWS picks for many reasons.


***NOTE – These bottles will go out to the general member of COWS for reservation on Saturday, April 2nd at 10am. There will be a link posted in the groups Facebook page. The number of bottles is very limited. Cost for the reservation is $92 with a limit of 1 reservation.


To find out more about Elijah Craig Barrel Proof – check it out HERE

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.








Parker’s Heritage Collection: Orange Curacao Finished Review

Last night it was time for me to pay up on my private tasting that was raffled off at our December meeting that raised money for the Huckleberry House. It gave me the opportunity to crack open a bottle that I had been saving for the situation. So now that it is open, I figured it was as good a time as any to review it for you. The bottle is a Parker’s Heritage Collection: Barrel Finished in Orange Curacao barrels. Let’s get into this!


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Parker’s Heritage Barrel Finished


PROOF – 110


AGE – non-age stated (rumored to be between 7-8 years – 4 months in orange curacao barrels)


COLOR – deep amber (1.4 tawny on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Navel orange citrus pops right off the top, light brown sugar, toasted almonds, vanilla crème, slight sweet leather and toasted oak


TASTE – Vanilla custard right in the front and then it transitions with orange creamsicle, roasted peanuts, charred oak, dusty tobacco


FINISH – I would call this a long finish. The orange notes transition into a dry charred oak and dusty peanut shell finish.


REVIEW – Orange curacao finished bourbon is not something I normally seek out but when I had the chance I had to pull the trigger on a Parker’s Heritage Collection. The interesting part of this pour is that there is no doubt the orange curacao finish gave the intended effect of adding an orange note but at the core of this is still a Heaven Hill profile with big nuttiness and oak notes that still reminds you it is still the base of this whiskey. I think the more often you drink it the better you get to understand the pour. I will say today I felt it was better than the first pour out of the bottle last night. It also probably has been improved by letting air hit for a little bit also.


FINAL COMMENTS – It was great to be able to share this bottle with some great people last night. One of the things that I did last night was use different food items to show the dramatic changes that can make with whiskey in general but with one like this it really showed. I really encourage you with any whiskey to try this exercise. I used parmesan cheese, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, dark chocolate and a dark maple syrup. The dried cranberries really made the orange burst alive and then the dark chocolate brought out the dry oak and nuttiness. All of the items gave you many twist and turns. Let me know if you do this and what you think.

To find out more check it out here – Parker’s Heritage Collection

You can look at all the past Sunday Evenings Reviews and I would still love to hear what your personal reviews are from each of the whiskies reviewed.

Pikesville Straight Rye Review

This week I review a brand that has a history that has led it on a journey that has taken it through 2 states. This week I will review Pikesville Straight Rye produced by Heaven Hill Distillery. We will find out if the journey was worth the trip or will it turn out to be a scene from a Vacation movie.


Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.


NAME – Pikesville Straight Rye


PROOF – 110


AGE – non-age stated but at least 6 years based on website data


COLOR – old copper penny (1.5 auburn, polished mahogany on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)


NOSE – Vanilla pudding, cooked peaches, cinnamon, honeysuckle, caramel and some musty oak There is fair bit of ethanol also.


TASTE – Butterscotch up front with honeysuckle, and cinnamon. As it moves through the palate you get aged oak, slight cocoa and a touch of mint.


FINISH – I would call this a medium finish. The aged oak stays along with the slight mint, but tobacco and aged leather comes in also.


REVIEW – If this bottle was more available, I would tell you that this should be your preferred “Swiss Army Knife” bottle you should have on your shelf. It has a little bit of something for everyone. The rye drinkers will like it, bourbon drinkers will like it and it has the proof and bold taste to hang in any cocktail. Due to it not being as available in Ohio I would still tell you it’s a good bottle to have on the shelf. You just might reach for its younger brother Rittenhouse for your cocktails.


FINAL COMMENTS – As described on Heaven Hill website:


First produced in Maryland in the 1890s, Pikesville Rye, along with the rest of the once-booming Maryland Rye industry, was shuttered by Prohibition. The brand reemerged after Prohibition and became the last standing Maryland Rye, as the rest of the industry’s production had ceased. Now produced in Kentucky from extra-aged barrels stored in prime warehouse locations, Heaven Hill Distillery keeps this historic Maryland mark alive.


Is this a bit of a story? Sure, but who doesn’t like a good story. By all accounts this is a Kentucky Rye with the minimum 51% rye needed to be called a straight rye. Due to that a lot of the herbal notes are subdued and the corn sweetness comes through. If you are a hardcore rye drinker, I would look for a MGP style 95% straight rye but if you are bourbon drinker that wants to dabble in rye this is a good one especially if you like a little added proof.