Bourbon

Review: Larceny Barrel Proof (Batch A120)

Starting in January 2020, Heaven Hill will release the new Larceny Barrel Proof three times a year, with other batches also arriving every May and September. Just like the standard Larceny release, this barrel proof edition is aged six to eight years. The barrel proof edition of Heaven Hill’s wheated mash bill bourbon is also non-chill filtered. It joins a small market of high-proof wheated bourbons competing against Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and W. L. Weller Full Proof.

Batches will utilize the same naming convention as Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. The first letter represents the batch release number for the year, followed by the month and year. In this case, A120 means this is the first batch, released in January 2020.

Batch A120 is bottled at 123.2 proof, or 61.62% abv. It starts rolling out to markets in January for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

There are hints of brown sugar, kettle corn, nutmeg, and cola on the nose. The soft, sweet approach of Larceny is apparent here, though presented in a much richer iteration. The palate first sees hints of spiced caramel, brioche, and vanilla. A bit of oak spice and slight astringency lead us to the short finish, which features a lingering barrel char and toffee note.

Larceny Barrel Proof does a nice job of transforming its approachable lower-proofed sibling into a much richer experience. The added proof points amplify the caramelized sugar quality of the whiskey. If you’re a fan of easy-drinking wheaters but are looking for a bit more oomph, place Larceny Barrel Proof in your sights. It’s an easy recommendation, especially for the $50 price tag. Just don’t expect a deep, complex bourbon.

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

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.