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flahute

BOTM 06/20 Henry McKenna BIB 10yr Single Barrel

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flahute

This month we are revisiting an old favorite that we haven't talked about as BOTM for quite a long time.

I call it an old favorite because it was mostly liked and appreciated as a quality bourbon at a price that made it a good value.

It was certainly a regular for me. BIB - always a good thing. 10 years old! Kind of a big deal now to get an age statement like that. Priced in the low to mid $30's depending on location. It's a single barrel of course so the variation between barrels meant it wasn't always universally good to every palate. But when you got a good one? Back to the store to buy as many of the same barrel as you could find. (I see you @Harry in WashDC)

 

Then we all know what happened. It won an award and a certain someone wrote about said award for a big publication. It's become a regular occurrence. You have a high quality bourbon that flies under the radar because nobody has yet to tell all the whiskey jabronis that this is a good one that they ought to be drinking. It's been there for the taking all along. Then someone tells them it's good and they descend on the liquor stores as if Pappy himself crossed over from the great beyond to personally deliver that year's allocation of Van Winkles. And so just like that HMcK BIB 10yr becomes unobtainable. I saw it coming from 10 miles off and thought to myself that I should go out and buy a case before it disappeared but I just didn't have the energy for it. Bourbon zen I suppose.

 

Fast forward a couple years and it's starting to show up again. I don't know if the whiskey jabronis got tired of it or if they are making more but I finally saw one and decided to give it a try. Is the quality still there? Is it still a value given the new price in the low $40's?

 

Sipping it as I type. Bottle has been open for a couple weeks now and is almost empty so that tells you something right there.

Quality: it's still very good. Granted it's only 1 barrel after two years so the sample size is the about the smallest it can get. Maybe I just got lucky.

Value: tough to swallow the new price point after being spoiled for so many years. Low $40's for 10yr old bourbon at 100 proof is still a value however by today's standards.

 

What say you SB family? Has it reappeared in your market? What's the price? Do you still like it?

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Richnimrod

To your last question: I just saw one yesterday!   ...Maybe only the second one in about 18-months.      Didn't buy it, partly because of price ($52.99 OTD), partly because I've seen so little of the brand in so long (around 18-months) and am not sure about the continued quality of a brand missing for so long... and partly because I'm not sure where I'd put another bottle (I have 10 or 12 backed up)! 

 

As to past experience with HMcK 10 SB: I had (maybe better than average) luck with it for at least 8-years-running (counting backwards from about late '18).   I haven't kept records, so these are estimates: probably below 10% of the bottles I've owned have been 'clinkers' (I recall only 2, and they weren't that bad); but probably above 50% have been excellent and well-enjoyed; but, keep in mind many of that category were additional bottles from barrels I tried and found worth the the extra stock.   The rest have fallen mostly in the not-sorry-to-drink, and enjoyable-but-won't-seek-another-from-that-barrel category.

I found the same 'sweet spot' there that I found with the Elijah Craig brand (and somewhat similar in profile) right after it's age statement was dropped.   I actually liked those early NAS bottles of EC better on average than the 12-year age-stated ones from back in the day.

 

Is there variability? Yes.  It is a single barrel brand, so that's to be expected.   Have most of the ones I bought been been similar in profile, even if the overall satisfaction has not been universally identical? Yes.   

Even with the now-increased price (up more than a third from the cost of most of my stash), I think it's a brand that still has decent value when one considers alternative Bourbons of it's age.   If I didn't have so many on my shelves, I'd be at least trying one or two myself, I suppose.

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dcbt

I look for it every time I'm in a store, but I haven't seen it since said aforementioned award several years ago.  I'm not too twisted about it, though.  If HH7BiB runs low 40s (when found), though, I'm not surprised to see HMcK10 higher than that.

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Guss West

Just moved a box of them so I know where to go get one down in the bunker. 

 

Will have to crack one open here soon!  

 

Haven't been tempted by the new bottles of it for  $50+ I see now occasionally.  

 

Thanks to the SBers who taught me to hoard the good barrels when found.  Giggity!  

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tanstaafl2

Not one I drank a lot of although I agree it was always a great value at around or under $30 (A bit like Eagle Rare used to be as well).

 

I still have an "Arts & Crafts" label bottle somewhere. Not even open according to my spreadsheet. Maybe I need to go dig it out!

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Big Rick

@ $30 I bought it often. Then boom it was  gone. when it reappeared it was $45 and I was shocked. It is now $74 and I laugh out loud every time I walk past it. I let my feeling be known to the Heaven Hill folks and as I expected got no response. 

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Clueby
21 minutes ago, Big Rick said:

@ $30 I bought it often. Then boom it was  gone. when it reappeared it was $45 and I was shocked. It is now $74 and I laugh out loud every time I walk past it. I let my feeling be known to the Heaven Hill folks and as I expected got no response. 

It was $28 here for a long time, then crept into the $30s, and then like you noted it was gone.  Reappeared for $50 to $100 but I was able to get a couple within the last 6 months for $31.  One of the bottles was standard/average.  The other was pretty darn good but still not $50+ good.

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fishnbowljoe

My wife and I needed to get out. Out of the house, out of town, and out of the state. We were tired of being cooped up. So, we got in the car and headed north to Wisconsin. Stopped at a store we’ve been to before. Passed on the BOTM for $79.99. Sad, since this store usually has pretty fair prices. Equally as sad is that a year ago at another store in Wisconsin, I passed on a bottle for $39.99. Sheeesh.

 

Biba! Joe
 


 

 

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tanstaafl2

Locally the distributor in Georgia is selling it for $45 wholesale so has to be at least mid $50’s for retail. Not sure if the distillery is driving that cost or if the distributor is padding the bill. But anything over mid $50s in Georgia is likely the store breaking out the crowbar and Vaseline. 
 

For me It would be too much at $40.

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scratchline

IMG_4770.thumb.jpg.dfc4374e3bfc2dbb79660cebd0910464.jpg

I can still get behind it at this price but it's the lowest price I've seen in a looong time.  

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FacePlant
Posted (edited)

Great pick for BOTM. It's 9am Sunday morning and I haven't poured my first so I don't have a glass in hand. :) I do think however I could comment based on memory of why I like this so much. When I was making my switch from scotch to bourbon (not by intent or any particular reason) around 2010 an out of town friend brought a bottle for us to share. I think that was maybe 2013? He said a local LS in his area was featuring this as BOTM in the their store. At the time, and with much less bourbon brands tasted I though it was spectacular. Sometime a couple of years later I saw a bottle on the shelf of my local and picked it up. Once again very very impressive. I tasted it against another favorite EC12, and thought it should always be a part of the bar choices. I wondered how HH would taste and profile which barrels went into HMcK and which batched with others? As much as I enjoyed EC these HMcK barrels were bigger and bolder in flavor-maybe less refined-but still as easy neat as the lower proof counterpart. 

I didn't see the article coming nor the competition medal but I was watching the bourbon craze getting our of hand, and the age statements going away, so I bought a couple of 6s for my rapidly growing bunker. This was 2017. I felt once this whiskey received the appreciation it deserved the price point would be gone. At that moment the price had moved up to $27.99 shelf price and the LS priced the case at $25per. Looking back now I could have bought Amazon but this will do. 

I've had few good barrels, no bad ones, and one that caused me to return and buy 3 more bottles immediately. I still have 2 of the 4 left and they are something very special. The case was a very good barrel. Sure there's single barrel variation but from my personal experience they are very consistent like ER. I'm certainly inspired now to drink from the HMcK. 

Edited to say the bottles are available again in my area for mostly $50. I have quite a few that need drinking before I pay that.

Edited by FacePlant
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lcpfratn

I’ve been a fan of Henry McKenna BIB 10yr Single Barrel since the first time that I tried a bottle five or six years ago. I guess I was fortunate that my first bottle was from a stellar barrel. A few years later I found some more bottles from that same barrel in a small shop in a part of town that I don’t get to very often, and all those bottles went home with me...I still have a few of those. 
 

I had already started adding to my stash the year before it won the big award. That was the year it won for best in its category. The following year, I immediately added another case at around $25 per bottle when the big award was announced and the article by Fred hit the news. It shows up very sporadically in very small quantities these days, and as FacePlant stated, it typically sells in the $40 to $50 range, but I haven’t seen a bottle in months. 

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roundabout

Personally for me this has been one of my favorite bourbons to drink. I have found it in the last few weeks for $34 and I will buy it at that price every time I see it. 

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beasled

I've been relatively successful with McKenna BIB, with most being good, some being great, and I can't honestly say I've had a bad barrel yet. 

These used to be about £50 in the UK but thanks to the prat in the cravat they're now up to £75+ when they're around, which I wouldn't bother with. Can still import them from Europe every now and then but I haven't done that in a while as I still have a few from a couple of years ago. 

Will have to crack one soon, it's been too long. 

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dcbt

I just placed a drizly order and was semi-shocked to see HMcK10 there for $34 or so.  I added it to my cart; we'll see if it actually shows up.  I haven't seen it as an option before, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

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dcbt
1 hour ago, dcbt said:

I just placed a drizly order and was semi-shocked to see HMcK10 there for $34 or so.  I added it to my cart; we'll see if it actually shows up.  I haven't seen it as an option before, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Well, whaddya know, it indeed arrived.  It's been years since I had this, eager to revisit it soon.

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Richnimrod
1 hour ago, dcbt said:

I just placed a drizly order and was semi-shocked to see HMcK10 there for $34 or so.  I added it to my cart; we'll see if it actually shows up.  I haven't seen it as an option before, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Just curious; what's a "drizly"?   I've never heard the term.   

(Apologies in advance if this is a common term known to everybody but me... it's happened before, and likely will happen again... repeatedly, if past is prologue.)

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dcbt
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Richnimrod said:

Just curious; what's a "drizly"?   I've never heard the term.   

(Apologies in advance if this is a common term known to everybody but me... it's happened before, and likely will happen again... repeatedly, if past is prologue.)

It's an online alcohol ordering & delivery platform.  It may not be nationwide, not sure...

(drizly.com if you are interested, PM me and I'll send you a 'coupon' link, we each get a free delivery for it....) 

Edited by dcbt

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Richnimrod
7 hours ago, dcbt said:

It's an online alcohol ordering & delivery platform.  It may not be nationwide, not sure...

(drizly.com if you are interested, PM me and I'll send you a 'coupon' link, we each get a free delivery for it....) 

Thanx for the offer, dcbt; but, I'll pass.    I don't order stuph online.   I know.   I'm an old fart.   And, I'm not considered at all "with it".   I'm OK with that, though.    I figure if the Good Lord had wanted me to use the interwebs for buying stuph, he wouldn't of given me a wallet and cash, right?      ...Hmmmm. come to think about it, he didn't give me that stuph either, did he?   Ah, well bad analogy, I guess.

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afmadd

I'm a big Heaven Hill fan, but I'm on the fence about Henry McKenna BIB.  Of the three bottles I've had, two had a little bit of a sharp unpleasant note (reminded me of the smell of nail polish remover; or maybe the bitter taste of raw almonds) .  It wasn't strong, and did subside over time.  I'll give it another try at the VA ABC price, but it's not high on my list, unlike other Heaven Hill products such as EW BIB, Elijah Craig, and Virgin Bourbon.

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Harry in WashDC
On 6/10/2020 at 8:18 PM, Richnimrod said:

Thanx for the offer, dcbt; but, I'll pass.    I don't order stuph online.   I know.   I'm an old fart.   And, I'm not considered at all "with it".   I'm OK with that, though.    I figure if the Good Lord had wanted me to use the interwebs for buying stuph, he wouldn't of given me a wallet and cash, right?      ...Hmmmm. come to think about it, he didn't give me that stuph either, did he?   Ah, well bad analogy, I guess.

Um, you saying HE did NOT give me this passel of credit cards with which to order everything under the Sun from Amazon OR FROM Etsy or from any other store on the WEB?  I'm almost able to sit in this-here LA-Z-Boy with a PC (and OGD BIB in the trash can next to me) and COMMAND THE UNIVERSE!!  Or at least satisfy my every whim.

 

ON THREAD.  Due to the fact that I hit a honey barrel of HMcK 10 a few years ago and then cleared maybe close to ten stores on the regional distribution route in order to scarf up EVERY ONE of the honey barrel # I could find (at $32 per 750), I have not bought one of these in maybe three-plus years.  ALAS, I am down to just a couple 750s (well, three).  It is time to venture out, but at $40+, I am not a buyer unless somebody gives me a FREE taste first.  Just too much stuff at $40 or more that I know I like.

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