Following its award-winning Batch 011, Barrell Bourbon has unveiled its latest – the 9-year-old Batch 012. Following in the footsteps of several previous batches, Batch 012 was distilled and aged in Tennessee. The youngest stuff in the bottle is 9-years-old, but the company says there are “selected older barrels” blended into this batch. Proof-wise, we’re looking at a strong but not overpowering cask strength of 108.5 proof. Batch 012 was distilled from the same mash bill as Batch 011: 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley.
Batches 005 and 006 were close to the same age, and they’re still my favorites of the bunch. How does this new batch stack up?
The nose carries a vibrant citrus note that brightens up dark caramel, baking spices (especially cinnamon), vanilla and a slightly earthy note and something else (cigar box?). It sort of recalls a fantastic Four Roses single barrel I had once. Don’t ask me the recipe – I don’t remember. On entry, creamy caramel and vanilla cake create a wonderfully rich bed. Waves of spice build, while dark chocolate arrives on the mid-palate. Some oak tannins and leather show up late to the party. Nice. Complex. The finish is long and warm, with hints of fresh squeezed citrus, a hint of wood smoke, and slightly astringent oak spice.
I rather enjoyed this batch. A lot. To my tastes, whatever Tennessee distillery Barrell Bourbon sources these barrels from, they hit their peak around the 9-year mark. The spirit is complex but extremely easy to drink. Well done! 9/10
A lot of blended whisky is sold around the world. A lot. The majority is composed of dozens of different component grain and malt whiskies. It leaves the whiskies palatable. Perhaps more importantly, the use of many whiskies allows for consistency from batch to batch. If a particular whisky is in short supply, blenders will slightly change the blend ratios or even add other component whiskies to make their blended whisky.
Compass Box’s John Glaser thought it would be interesting to strip a blended whisky to its core. Enter The Double Single – a blended whisky composed on one grain whisky from Girvan and one malt whisky from Glen Elgin. Glaser used 72% Glen Elgin from re-charred bourbon hogsheads and 28% Girvan from re-charred bourbon barrels. The Double Single is a very small bottling of 5,838 bottles. If this were a large scale release, I doubt this whisky would be a reality because of the availabilty of the two component whiskies used.
So… how is it?
Pretty good, actually. The fruit-forward nose features crisp orchard fruit, with an emphasis on apples and pears. Honey, vanilla, oat cereal and floral notes round off the nose. The whisky is initially sweet on the palate, with hints of rich honeyed malt, spiced apples & pears, and ripe apricot. Some baking spice on the midpalate mingles with a splash of grapefruit juice. A hint of oak on the back of the palate rounds out this rich, fruity whisky. The finish is rather clean, with honey, sweet malt and citrus.
I’ve quite enjoyed just about everything I’ve tasted from Compass Box. No surprise here, but I like this one. It’s concurrently crisp and rich, with enough complexity to keep me going back for more. Here’s one bottle I’ll have to keep a lookout for. Highly recommended. 8.5/10
Thanks to Compass Box for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
It’s not every day the reigns are passed along at Hennessy. Last week, July 1st to be precise, Yann Fillioux stepped down as Hennessy Master Blender. Fillioux worked for the company for more than a half century, and created the wonderful Hennessy Paradis Imperial in 2015.
So who takes over?
Fillioux’s nephew – Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, of course. The Hennessy family and the Fillioux family go back more than 200 years, with the latter involved with creating cognac for seven generations.
Renaude de Gironde would be the eighth-generation Fillioux serving as master blender. It’s in his blood. He was born in Cognac and was trained by Yann Fillioux. Renaude has worked with Hennessy since 2002 in the Eaux-de-vie department.
I wish Renaude de Gironde good luck, and can’t wait to see what expressions he will come up with in the future.