Barrell Craft Spirits

Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 017

Barrell Bourbon ended 2018 with its last bourbon release of the year – Batch 017. This is a 10 year, 4 month old cask strength bourbon, meaning that’s the age of the youngest whiskey in the batch. However, 14 and 15-year-old barrels were also utilized here. The whiskies used in batch 017 were distilled in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Barrell calls this batch “an homage to a style of bourbon we love, which has become increasingly hard to find.” If you’re new to Barrell Bourbon, instead of keeping a consistent flavor profile from batch to batch, the company prefers for each batch to be different in style. In fact, it’s part of their motto, “Each batch is unique.” The only consistency between batches is the cask-strength bottling. Batch 017 comes in at 56.25% ABV, or 112.5 proof.

On the nose, warming baking spices mingle with orchard fruit and hints of toasted oak, minerals, and herbs. The palate is rich with initial notes of English toffee, juicy plums, berries, and fresh lime. A bit of charred pineapple arrives late, followed by restrained oak and some spice. The long finish finds lingering notes of fruit juice, mint, flint, and oak.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 017 is a decadent bourbon, wonderfully balancing fruit, spice, oak, and mineral notes. It is both unpretentious in nature and complex in flavor, perfect as a Sunday afternoon pour or an after dinner digestif. I tend to really enjoy Barrell Bourbon releases, but this one stands above the crowd. Liquid gold, even. Seek out a bottle, friends. You will thank me later. 9/10

Barrellbourbon.com

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

Review: Barrell Craft Spirits 13-Year-Old Rum

This 13-year-old rum is among the first wave of Barrell Craft Spirits (BCS) releases alongside an exquisite 15-year-old bourbon and complex 25-year-old American whiskey.  Barrell Craft Spirits is a new upscale line from the folks behind the popular Barrell Bourbon.  If you follow this blog, you already know how big a fan I am.  Don’t believe me – just search my site for Barrell.

Rums from Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana that were at least 13 years old were blended together at cask strength, which in this case is 124.2 proof.  The company’s first rum, released in 2016, was pretty damn tasty.

On the nose, BCS rum features notes of buttery toffee, ripe plantain, and a slight herbal quality.  There’s also a bit of tea and cognac in the background.  The palate offers hints of molasses, oak spice, coconut shavings, and vibrant lime zest.  Those spices ramp up heading into the long finish, which is as warm as a Kentucky hug.  I preferred the rum with a touch of water, which brought about a bit more sweetness.

The barrels that make up this blend were almost released as single barrels.  I’m glad they weren’t.  As good as those barrels may have been, blending them together is probably the better decision.  I base that statement on the quality and drinkability of past spirit releases from Barrell.  I’ve tasted a couple of their single barrel bourbons, and while they were tasty, they didn’t hold a candle to every other Barrell release, which was a blend.  In other words, Barrell’s strength lies in their blending ability.  With that, BCS rum is a delicious, hearty, and complex release.  Captain Morgan this is not.  8.5/10

barrellbourbon.com

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

Review: Barrell Craft Spirits 25-Year-Old Whiskey

As part of its one-two-three punch of initial releases, Barrell Craft Spirits (BCS) has unveiled a marvelous 15-year-old bourbon, 13-year-old rum, and this 25-year-old American whiskey.  A quarter of a century is a helluva long time to age whiskey here in the U.S.  It’s quite rare, in fact.  And of those releases that do carry such a high age statement, even fewer are not dominated by oak.

BCS bottles everything at cask strength, non-colored, and non-chill filtered.  The company believes it’s the best way to present a spirit.  I don’t disagree.  This whiskey was distilled and aged in Indiana.  It’s American whiskey and not bourbon, which could mean used casks have been used for maturation or the mash bill wasn’t at least 51% corn.  The truth is we don’t know because BCS didn’t divulge that information.  They did say that after 25 years of aging, the whiskey was finished in Sercial Madeira casks.

First releases mean first impressions, and the bar by which the label will be judged by in the future.  How does BCS 25-year-old whiskey fare in the glass?  Unsurprisingly, quite well.

The nose carries hints of toasted oak, vibrant red fruit, spice, roasted almonds, and dark chocolate.  Some air reveals a bit of dark caramel.  At 111.2 proof, it doesn’t need much water, if any.  A burst of molasses is quickly joined by lime juice, toasted marshmallow, vanilla pod and sweet red fruit.  Baking spices develop, as does leather and oak, which begins drying the back palate.  The long, warming, and slightly dry finish leaves behind candied fruit, dark chocolate, and old oak.

The Madeira cask finish really brightens things up.  The sweet, vibrant fruit plays well with the heavier oak and spice notes.  We could have easily ended up with another oak-dominated, ultra-aged whiskey.  Instead, BCS 25-year-old whiskey presents a profile much more balanced than expected.  Nicely done.  8.5/10

barrellbourbon.com

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