With the New Orleans Bourbon Festival right around the corner, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at some of their 2019 single barrel picks in a series of short reviews. A lot of the whiskies in this series are still available in certain New Orleans retail stores and will be poured at the 2019 New Orleans Bourbon Festival.
We close our series of 2019 New Orleans Bourbon Festival single barrel picks with this lovely bottle – a 14-year-old Tennessee straight bourbon from Barrell Bourbon. As always, the brand bottles everything at cask strength. In this case, it means 118.12 proof, or 59.06% ABV.
I tagged along with Barbara & Tracy Napolitano and others to select a barrel. We were given three choices, which were arranged by proof. We didn’t know the age or any other information. The first sample was a bit too “Dickel” on the nose, with big corn and mineral notes. The second was dripping with lovely red fruit. As soon as the third barrel sample enveloped my senses, I knew it was a winner.
On the nose, dark chocolate covered caramel kicks things off alongside aromas of baking spice, fruit, some vanilla pod, and old oak. This whiskey screams balance on the palate. Orange peel and black cherries meet dark caramel and honey. A wave of baking spices (cinnamon and cardamon) washes over the mid-palate. Developing soon after are cigar box and some dark, oaky notes. The finish is long, with a sweet tobacco, cardamon, and caramel chew.
This barrel represents classic bourbon, or at least what I consider that to be. Lots of caramel, vanilla, fruit, spice, and oak. Again, everything comes together in harmony. Based on the completely different flavor profiles of the three barrel samples we tried, the folks at Barrell really have a wide arsenal of flavors to work with when blending their batches. I’m glad I got a chance to try this bottle. It’s superb. 9/10