View Full Version : Henry McKenna "Finest Table Whiskey..."

01-04-2008, 08:22
OK I've had this bottle for a week now but tried as many searches as I could and still came up empty!

I found this McKenna and could not leave it as I had never seen this bottle before! It's 80 proof with an 83' on the bottom of the bottle. I hope you can see the piture well enough? I'm sure someone here has had this bottle just wondered if you could give me an idea of what to expect?

It says "Kentucky's Finest Table Whiskey Since 1855" Now if I remember correct I read something from Tim (TNBourbon) that Table Whiskey was an term for the everyday pour/Cooking Wihskey back in the day!

Just want your input! Is it a Drinker? Mixer? or use with Cooking?

Thanks Guys/Gals


01-04-2008, 08:50
I picked up a bottle of this last week and have yet to try it, either. It was a steal and looked interesting so I couldn't pass it up. I've been searching around the board for some notes but haven't found any.

I looked in Jim Murphy's book and if I recall correctly it says "See Heaven Hill 6 yr 80 proof." Sounds like the contents are bottled under several other labels.

Perhaps we should each partake of some later today after work?

01-04-2008, 08:52
If it was the BiB SB it would be fine indeed. Don't know about that stuff though. One way to find out.
Joe :usflag:

01-04-2008, 09:03
Hey there Mister
That's Lawrenceburg McKenna.
I believe that's Four Roses juice.

People have remarked from time to time also on the Fairfield version, which was earlier than this one. The old West Coast Study Group sampled Doug's Fairfield, as well as some gazebo goers.

Heaven Hill now has the label and positions their McKenna Table Whiskey below EW Black Label, but this is from before that. You could get yourself a bottle of HH's version for about $8 and compare.


01-04-2008, 09:12
That bottling is one I recall well from the 1980's, it was sold at the now-closed Seagram Whiskey Museum in Waterloo, Ontario and by the LCBO then.

Here is a taste note from a 20 year memory (am I close?):

- medium-honey colored, light grainy nose

- the predominant impression is a dryish, light, even "husky" taste (like corn husks)

- not heavy-bodied and relatively young in profile, maybe 4-5 years old maximum.

A nice but not overdemanding whiskey. At the time, I preferred Benchmark which was sweeter, darker, and seemingly older.


01-04-2008, 09:13
Is it the "Lawrenceburg" on the label that tells you it's older stuff from Four Roses?

01-04-2008, 09:17
As Chuck and others have posted, Henry McKenna was a Seagrams brand until they sold it to HH in the late 80's. I have seen bottles labeled as Fairfield, Louisville and Lawrenceburg from the Seagrams era. I recall Chuck saying he liked the Fairfield version that showed up at a Gazebo tasting courtesy of Doug a while back. IIRC, it was a mid to lower shelf product at the time.


01-04-2008, 09:26
felthove -Perhaps we should each partake of some later today after work?

Sounds like a winner to me! then we can post note in the tasting section to compare to Gary's notes.

Thanks everyone looks like it gets opened this evening...stay tuned kids! :lol:


01-04-2008, 09:50
Sounds like a winner to me! then we can post note in the tasting section to compare to Gary's notes.

Thanks everyone looks like it gets opened this evening...stay tuned kids! :lol:


Will do! I just need to double-check that mine is also a Lawrenceburg bottle. But will report back either way.

01-04-2008, 15:03
Fairfield, Kentucky, a wide spot in the road not far from Bardstown, is where the original McKenna Distillery stood. The McKenna family brought it back after Prohibition but sold it to Seagrams not long thereafter. Seagram's operated that distillery until, I think, 1971, then production shifted to other Seagram's plants and those bottles are usually marked either Lawrenceburg or Louisville. Ultimately, Lawrenceburg was the last active Seagram's distillery in Kentucky. They initially sold only U.S. rights to Heaven Hill, but eventually sold them the whole kit. Heaven Hill still makes it but, of course, those bottles say Bardstown.

Fairfield bottles are exceedingly rare. Doug's was only the second one I've ever seen. I enjoyed it very much. Other people did not and I pretty much had it to myself, thank you very much, both to Doug but also to the people who didn't care for it.

A Lawrenceburg bottling should be different from a contemporary Heaven Hill one, but it should be a decent young bourbon regardless.

Apparently the brand still sells pretty well somewhere, probably in the South, because Heaven Hill actually gives it a little bit of marketing support, unlike most of the cats and dogs brands in their portfolio.

01-04-2008, 15:17
I used to purchase this regularly, back in the day (early 70's). If I recall correctly, I think it was 90-proof back then. In those days, it seemed to me to be a great value - pretty good whiskey at a reasonable price. I moved away from it, literally, moving to a state where it was no longer available to me. So, I haven't had any in at least 30 years.

Now it is Heaven Hill whiskey and I feel like it should be a cut above their standard bottlings, but I don't know that for a fact. I would use it as an everyday pour and for mixing duty. My best advice is, try it and see.


PS - Maybe, after reading all of the above, it is not produced by Heaven Hill, only marketed by them. I really don't know.

01-04-2008, 23:12
Well it turns out mine is a Bardstown bottle. I had a small glass neat tonight and my initial impression was a strong woody character and considerable viscosity. Not "spirity" by any means but there wasn't much complexity. As my glass sat and I took a few more sips it (or I) seemed to come into greater balance/focus and more spice became evident on the finish. Still, I'd say its strongest characteristic is a walnut flavor upfront with some richness and just a hint of spice. Not a cerebral pour by any means but nothing at all offensive or off in the flavor profile. Not sure exactly how this bourbon is best consumed but I'll give it a few more tastes in the months to come.

01-04-2008, 23:35
I have to say I just poured mine and you're right. This bottle reminds me of the first time I tried I.W. Harper 15yr. 80. I thought it was very light and subtle! I can get the Walnut you talk of but it wants to turn sweet but dwindles into tannins. I get a little charr up front. I can say it will not be a daily pour but sure I'll let it breath for a bit and see what it turns into!
To Subtle for me! the finish is very uneventful!


01-05-2008, 03:57
The picture of Tony's bottle states Lawrenceburg and his description sounds close to what I remember. The bottles of the mid-80's, especially those sold by a Seagram facility in Canada, would (at least on average I believe) have been made at its facility in Lawrenceburg, KY. The statement about wanting to turn sweet but staying in a woddy direction resonates in particular as well the impressions of lightness, walnuts and not much finish.


01-05-2008, 19:54
The label looks very similar to the bottle that I picked earlier tonight. Mine has Bardstown on the label and the bottle is straight where his has curves. It was less than $10.00 and second shelf.

Not a bad daily pour for medicinal purposes.