Henry Whiskey Review
Henry Family Bourbon from Rural Wisconsin stands as an impressive demonstration of how modest Midwestern farmers can succeed at crafting whiskey. Their farm grows all of the heirloom red corn, wheat and rye they use for distilling; only malted barley comes from another source.
Ransom Spirits uses a five grain bourbon mashbill and produces their product using a hand-hammered Pruehlo Cognac copper pot still, then ages it for five years prior to bottling and sale.
Early Life and Education
Henry attended a one-room school before being sent by his father to Luther College in Regina. Although originally intending to become a minister, later he switched his focus toward science instead.
His first job was at the Saskatchewan Research Council in Winnipeg and helped him earn his doctorate. Following that experience he later worked for the American Chemical Society.
He is also renowned author, having written several books on whiskey. In addition, he has contributed articles and patents. Additionally, he has won multiple honors and awards for his chemistry work including the ACS Priestley Medal and National Science Foundation Award – two that have brought him international renown.
Henry McKenna immigrated to the US at a time of dire economic conditions and was determined to make his mark here. He built a distillery near Nelson County and quickly made a name for himself in whiskey making.
Daniel McKenna was instrumental in expanding sales with his careful production and promotion of whiskey products.
McKenna’s Bourbon is handcrafted in Wisconsin using an unusual mix of red heirloom corn, rye and malted barley from their farm – along with extended aging in French Oak barrels – for an experience that both captures the essence of bourbon while expanding it.
Henry DuYore emergeds as one of the highest rated spirits under $50 in a recent blind tasting, likely thanks to its unusual label and nontraditional tasting profile.
Achievement and Honors
Henry Whiskey has gained immense notoriety over recent years. It has won multiple prestigious awards and accolades, such as Wine Enthusiast’s Spirit Brand of the Year honor as well as Heaven Hill Distillery’s 10-Yr Bottled-in-Bond award.
Heaven Hill Bourbon was named for Irish immigrant Henry McKenna who modified his family whiskey recipe to suit Kentucky grain sources. Distillation and ageing take place at Heaven Hill distillery located in Nelson County, Kentucky.
Henry whiskeys include Ransom Spirits, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and Nearest Green Bourbon in honor of Africa’s first known Master Distiller.
HENRY WHISKEY is named in honor of Henry McKenna, an Irish immigrant who brought with him his family’s whiskey recipe from Ireland and worked at an Irish distillery before opening up a liquor store here in Nelson County.
The McKenna family expanded the distillery several times prior to Prohibition’s dismantlement of it. They allowed Stitzel Distillery to bottle and sell their whiskey as medicinal spirits at pharmacies for $1 per case commission.
Today, Liz and John grow a special variety of red corn to produce bourbon for distillation at their farm, producing around 2,000 acres annually. Once aged in the former dairy barn-turned-rickhouse at their farm, it becomes an aged bottle-in-bond product, meaning that at least four years have passed in America since being created.
Henry was exposed to moonshining from an early age as his father Amos Law ran multiple illegal whiskey stills in Franklin County. Both Henry and Kenny learned their craft as young children.
Henry and Kenny currently own Laws Choice Whiskey Company. It uses the same mashbill used by well-known brands like Elijah Craig and Evan Williams and is produced in Wisconsin before aging it in Kentucky barrels.
Henry’s single-barrel bourbon won best in show at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, beating out over a dozen international competitors such as Scotch whisky. A passionate rodeo cowboy himself, Henry also competes in tie-down roping events where he has earned over $200,000 season earnings.