2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Names Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon ‘Best in Show Whiskey’
Remember Y2K? That’s the time in history when everyone thought the world was going to end at the stroke of midnight? If that seems like a long time ago, it was. Good news is the world is still here and that was the same year the San Francisco World Spirits Competition started, a competition that has set the gold standard for spirits competitions for nearly two decades.
In its 19 year history the competition has continued to attract spirits of all colors, flavors and ages from around the world. This year’s competition was made up for nearly 3,000 entries that made it in for consideration. Just stop for a moment and think about the logistics for managing say 30 spirits for a taste test. Now multiply that by 100. That my friends is a lot of spirits.
For only the second time in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition history, a bourbon has taken the top spot amongst all whiskeys from around the world, including Scotch. Heaven Hill Distillery’s Henry McKenna Single Barrel 10 Year Old Bottled in Bond Bourbon Whiskey was announced as the “Best in Show Whiskey”. The only other Bourbon to win was another Heaven Hill bourbon the 2008 Parker’s Heritage Collection 27-Year-Old Bourbon Whiskey.
The Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond 10-year-old Bourbon also received Best Single Barrel Bourbon and Best Bourbon, the exact award designations the brand received just last year in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Given the barrel to barrel nuances that come with the single barrel designation, maintaining the incredible taste profile year in and year out demonstrates the expertise of Heaven Hill’s master tasting team.
“Quality and consistency are two values that have persisted across Heaven Hill since our company began distilling American Whiskey in 1935,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira. “Henry McKenna, and our entire American Whiskey portfolio, is a shining example of the tradition instilled by our late Master Distiller Parker Beam and carried forth by our unrivaled team at Heaven Hill Distillery. While we certainly enjoy the recognition of our passion, it is the commitment of our people who bring these products to life that gives us the most satisfaction.”
The Late Parker Beam – A Distiller’s, Master Distiller
“You can make bourbon anywhere but, if you want to sell it, you better damn well make it in Kentucky.”
~ Parker Beam, Heaven Hill Master Distiller Emeritus, 1941-2017
This 10 year old bourbon would have been laid down by Heaven Hill’s late Master Distiller Parker Beam. He’s one of the few distillers that earned the title Master Distiller from his many years of contributing to the bourbon industry that is now reaping the rewards of the boom that he helped reignite. Beam passed away in January 2017 after a long battle with ALS, the disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Though he’s gone, his memory, his spirit and his legacy live on.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition spirits were tasted over four days through a controlled blind tasting by expert panelists. No information on brand, producer, or price point is given out prior to tastings to ensure each is judged fairly and without bias.
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Good luck in finding a bottle. Cheers!