Barrell Bourbon

Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 016


Since my first sip of Batch 005, I’ve enjoyed following the whiskey journey that Barrell takes me on.  They aren’t concerned with consistency of flavors between batches.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Every batch is different.  Flavor profile, age, proof… it changes with every release.

For Batch 016, straight bourbon whiskies from Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky were batched together, with the youngest being 9 years 9 months old.  Barrels that were 11 and 15-years-old were also used in the blend.  As always, Barrell bourbon releases are bottled at cask strength.  Here it’s 105.8 proof.

This batch is very fruit forward.  It’s quite evident on the nose, with hints of orange peel, fresh apricots, and apple jam.  A sprinkling of spice and oak add a little oomph.  Even though this is cask strength, there is no need to add water.  I find the 105.8 proof perfectly drinkable.  Taste-wise, hints of key lime pie and orange marmalade paint a picture of sweet and sour.  Toffee, oak spice, and dark roasted coffee (reminds me of Starbucks Cafe Verona blend) round things out.  The finish is warm and sticks around a while, with lingering notes of macerated berries and mineral water.

Thumbs up here.  I really like the roundness of the whiskey as much as I enjoy the big fruit notes showcased.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this is another beautiful blend by Barrell founder Joe Beatrice and Head Distiller Tripp Stimson.  Keep it going, fellas.  Recommended! 8.5/10

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

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Barrell Bourbon Batch 014 Review

I get excited when a new batch of Barrell Bourbon arrives at my doorstep. The folks making this aren’t looking for consistency between batches like most big time labels. Contrarily, each batch is unique in flavor profile. That allows the blender a nearly unlimited playground to play with when creating a new batch. That, to me, is exciting.

Barrel Bourbon Batch 014 started life with some 9-year-old barrels from Batch 012. A parcel of 9-year-old bourbon barrels were added and topped off with some 14-year-old bourbon. Like all of the company’s releases, Barrell Bourbon Batch 014 is bottled at cask strength. In this case we’re talking 109.4 proof. All the whiskies in this batch were distilled in Tennessee and Kentucky.

The rich nose features hints of caramel corn, vanilla extract, sweet oak, and a touch of herbs and some floral notes. Taste-wise, there is lots going on here. Cinnamon sticks and cardamon kick things off, leading to waves of toffee, butterscotch, rye spice and fruit. Tobacco and leather develop in the mid-palate along with toasted oak and a small blast of refreshing spearmint. The finish is long with hints of caramelized fruit, spice, and oak.

I’ve gotta say this has hit a sweet spot for my palate. It’s built upon classic bourbon flavors with the fruit and spice notes dialed up a notch. Barrell Bourbon’s winning streak continues. Highly recommended! 8.5/10

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

Barrell Bourbon Batch 013 Whiskey Review

The folks at Barrell Bourbon have most certainly ramped up production.  New batches are coming in quicker than they used to, or so it seems.  Thankfully, quality has not been sacrificed.  That is true of this latest release, Batch 013.

A batching of 5-year-old bourbon from Indiana and 5- and 8-year-old high rye bourbon from Tennessee, Barrell Bourbon Batch 013 is presented at the brand’s signature cask strength.  In this case, we’re looking at 113 proof.

The nose features hints of kettle corn, cinnamon, and buttered toast with a touch of feint oak.  Taste-wise, Batch 013 offers a classic bourbon experience.  By that I mean sweet corn, spice and vanilla.  Those flavors are presented in a cohesive, balanced manner.  Surprisingly, the young-ish 5-year-old Indiana bourbon component doesn’t dominate the palate, but its big corn note does shine in this whisky’s finish.  On the mid-palate, a creaminess appears, as well as orange zest.  The warming finish features sweet corn and cinnamon sugar. 

At the end of the day, Barrell Bourbon Batch 013 is a delicious, corn-forward (though not corn-dominated) bourbon.  It’s not among my favorite releases from Barrell, but it’s still nice.  I haven’t had a bad batch yet, and I don’t expect to.  Barrell founder Joe Beatrice would probably rather quit his job than release a sub-par whiskey.  7.5/10

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