Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 022

The last several batches of Barrell Bourbon have lived in the 9 to 11 year range. Their latest, Batch 022, is a blend of 5-year-old straight bourbon whiskies distilled and aged in Kentucky and Indiana and bottled at cask strength (116.6 proof). In fact, the last release this young was batch 013.

The Kentucky barrels utilized here bring a dry, woody character to the final blend. In contrast, the Indiana barrels added floral, herbaceous, and sweet notes.

Sweet orange aromas steer the nose on this batch, along with hints of gin botanicals, vanilla, caramel, and apricot. The palate features a creamy mouthfeel flavored by notes of orange blossom honey, cola, caramel, and a certain grassiness. The medium, sweet, and slightly dry finish features a distinct, lingering cinnamon candy note.

Batch 022 comes across as lively and aromatic. The rye grain in the mash bill brings about an almost barrel-aged gin quality on the nose. The folks behind Barrell Bourbon are always looking to present something interesting in each batch, and they’ve certainly achieved their goal here. Barrell Bourbon Batch 022 is a tasty reminder that the bourbon flavor profile can certainly be expanded upon. Plus, it’s exquisite when used in an Old Fashioned. Recommended.

Barrellbourbon.com

Thanks to Barrell Craft Spirits for the production sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 021

Barrell Bourbon batch 021 comes to us as a blend of 10-14-year-old straight bourbon whiskies distilled and aged in Tennessee and Kentucky. The 10-year-old barrels used in this batch featured an oak-forward character. Eighteen 14-year-old barrels were added to bring a bit of balance to the final blend. The resulting batch comes in at 106.34 proof (53.17% abv).

The nose starts with a big butterscotch note soon accompanied by hints of English breakfast tea, spice, and ripe berries, with a tinge of lemon peel. It’s deep but lively. On the palate, dark berries mingle with vanilla and molasses. Spices build but don’t overpower. The long, dry finish features oak tannins, leather, and dried fruit.

The webpage for this batch mentions it’s a “wonderfully autumnal bourbon, built on a dry toasty backbone with hints of butter and fruit layered in for complexity and contrast.” The description is spot on. I can easily imagine sipping on this batch of Barrell Bourbon in front of a fire on a cool night. It feels like it was designed for precisely this time of year. Another appetizing release from the meticulous minds at Barrell Craft Spirits. Highly recommended.

Barrellbourbon.com

Thanks to Barrell Craft Spirits for the production sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Wolves Whiskey (Winter Run)

I love whiskey. Regardless of the type of whiskey, I absolutely enjoy the wonderful aromas and flavors I get in just about every glass. I’m always on the lookout for different, and though new expressions or single barrels are always hitting shelves, they sometimes tend to taste a bit homogenous. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Instead, I use it as a descriptor. For example, I know single barrels of say, Elijah Craig for example, are going to be different, but at the end of the day it’s still going to taste like Elijah Craig. And I like Elijah Craig, but sometimes I want something different.

Cue Wolves Whiskey. Back in May 2019, the first batch of this new whiskey was unleashed on the world. Made from whiskies distilled from beer, Wolves Whiskey was like nothing I’d tasted before (and before you ask, no, I haven’t tasted anything from Charbay).

The “Winter Run” batch of Wolves Whiskey only produced 1,338 bottles. Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic (from Charbay) distilled three of the four whiskies that make up this batch:

  1. 8-year-old whiskey distilled from stout craft beer, aged in French oak
  2. 5-year-old whiskey distilled from finished Pilsner beer, aged in new American oak, char level 3
  3. 9-year-old malt whiskey distilled from two-row malted barley, aged in used French oak
  4. rye whiskey (Whisky Advocate reports this is from MGP)

The resulting whiskey was cut to 52% ABV (104 proof) with “mineral rich water of Mendocino County”. Like last time, the bottle is wrapped in Italian sheepskin leather… a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The nose features hints of hops, vanilla, dried fruit, and honey with a slightly floral undertone. The palate starts out sweet. Lemon cake and almonds meet hops and rich cocoa. A touch of oak spice and tobacco leaf develop on the back-palate. The long, bright finish features orange peel and sweet hops.

When I say this whiskey is different, I mean it. It’s rich, hoppy, and a bit citrusy. There was definitely a lot of care and attention that went into the distillation of the component whiskies, but the finesse of putting together this blend deserves a standing ovation. The Wolves team (James Bond and Jon Buscemi) should be proud of this release. I dig it more than the first blend, which from memory was more hoppy and a bit spicier. “Winter Run” feels more complete and rounded. Well done! If you’re interested in a bottle, you’d better order one from Flaviar.com or ReserveBar.com now before they’re gone. The first batch sold out rather quickly.

wolveswhiskeyca.com

Thanks to Wolves Whiskey for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.