One of the most prestigious competitions in whiskey has crowned its winner, and the official best whiskey of the year, according to the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, is Henry McKenna 10-Year Bottled-in-Bond Single Barrel Bourbon.
This marks only the second time that a bourbon has taken the “Best in Show” award for whiskey in the competition’s nearly two decades of operation. Noted bourbon author and authority Fred Minnick, who has been a frequent member of the SFWSC judging panel, broke the story today on his Forbes blog.
We wrote about the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year, when we were invited behind the scenes to see how a few dozen judges score and rank thousands of spirits in just a few days. The results are significant because the tasting is done blind, the scores are assigned blind, and the prestigious panel of judges includes notable writers, bartenders, distributors, and other professionals who deal with liquor for a living.
Henry McKenna 10-Year is, even without this award, one of the best bourbons—and in the last decade has been one of the most affordable—on the market. It’s a Heaven Hill product, made in Kentucky. Its cousins in the bourbon world are Elijah Craig and Evan Williams, which both share the same mash bill (or ratio of grains used in the recipe).
Despite our own instincts to hide it from the public, we’ve written about it several times, calling it one of the most overlooked bourbons on the market, one of the best bourbons under $50, and one of 39 great whiskeys you can buy right now.
We might have to amend that last one—McKenna’s popularity has caused a few supply concerns over the last couple of years as more people have taken notice.
Last year, McKenna Bottled-in-Bond also won best single barrel bourbon from the same competition, and that’s of particular significance because, unlike many whiskey award-winners from other competitions, it now shows a pattern—a track record of being regarded among the best. Few bottles on the market demonstrate repeat victories; the ones that win awards (like the most recent Jim Murray whiskey of the year) are typically one-time releases, or are made in such limited quantities that trying to buy them after they win is impossible.
When you do find it, Henry McKenna 10-Year Bottled-in-Bond Single Barrel Bourbon is typically available for around $30 to $35.