Joe Beatrice

Barrell Bourbon Batch 008 Review

What we have here is the oldest bourbon released by Barrell Bourbon.  Batch 008 is aged for nine and a half years.  It’s also the highest proofed whiskey released by the company, clocking in at 132.8 proof.  That’s high enough to put a little hair on your chest, as they say.  Like the last few batches, Batch 008 was also distilled and aged in Tennessee.  It also shares the same mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley.

I’m a relative newcomer to Barrell Bourbon, starting my journey with Batch 005 last year.  Batch 005 and 006 are among my favorite bourbons of the last couple of years.  Both of those were aged only eight years.  Batch 007 was a five year old release that showed great complexity for such a young whiskey.  Three exceptional bourbon releases.  Does Barrell Bourbon owner Joe Beatrice continue this winning streak with Batch 008?

The nose on this whiskey is intense.  Slightly burnt caramel, dark chocolate, spice cake and red cherries flow out of the glass.  Taste-wise, we’re talking about a spicy whiskey here:  cinnamon bark, dark brown sugar, sharp toasted grain, nutmeg, cherry liqueur, and creamy homemade vanilla ice cream. The spice hits hard at first, then slightly mellows and allows for a creamy mouthfeel to come forth.  The finish is hot, which is no surprise given the high proof, and leaves behind notes of cinnamon tinged pastry and slightly astringent oak.  A splash of water sweetens things up a tad.

One note about this whiskey – it’s not as sweet as the nose suggests.  It instead falls rather high on the spicy and dry scale. I find it interesting that Batch 008 starts off spicy, but then morphs into an elegant mix of spiced fruit and cream, and ends up dry.  Not dry in a bad way. Quite the opposite.  It makes you want to take another sip, and before you know it your glass is empty.  That, to me, is the sign of a magnificent whiskey.  This is the most complex Barrell Bourbon release to date.  Recommended!  8.5/10

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

Barrell Whiskey Batch 002 Review

Barrel Whiskey B2In addition to fantastic bourbons, Joe Beatrice’s Barrell Bourbon company also drops the occasional whiskey on the market.  The difference between the two could be in the makeup of the mash bill (remember, bourbon must be at least 51% corn), but is most likely the use of used barrels.  That’s a no-no for straight bourbon, which has to be aged in new barrels.  So we have whiskey.

Batch 002 was distilled in Indiana from a corn/rye/malted barley mash bill.  The whiskey was aged in ex-bourbon barrels in Kentucky for 9.5 years, then finished in sherry casks.  This particular batch is bottled at 123.8 proof.

The nose isn’t as rich as recent batches of  Barrell Bourbon, but that’s to be expected.  A used barrel doesn’t give as much flavor and color as a new one. Still, there’s lots of good stuff to be found here.  Buttered corn bread, apple tart, vanilla ice cream and some fruit leap out of the glass.  Taste-wise, strong notes of graininess and graham cracker support delicate honeyed fruit.  The lightest touch of spice on the backend adds to the complexity of this whiskey.    The finish showcases the fruit notes of the palate with a touch of sweetness.

This is a nice sipping whiskey.  It’s light, but packs great flavors.  I like that the sherry cask finish is not overdone at all.  I like that it’s aged almost a decade.  I like that this is cask strength, allowing you to proof down the whiskey to your liking.  You see the trend here.  This is one I’ll pour over ice and enjoy outdoors during the hot, humid Louisiana summer months.  Nicely done.

(Note: A review sample was provided by the company behind this whisky free of charge.  The opinions written are my own.)

Barrell Bourbon Batch 007 Review

Barrell Bourbon Batch 007

Barrell Bourbon owner Joe Beatrice had a midas touch for choosing barrels for Barrell bourbon batches 005 and 006.  Both came from Tennessee.  Both were aged around eight and a half years.  Both were OUTSTANDING bourbon releases. I brought my bottle of batch 005 to a tasting, and it didn’t last long.  The selfish side of me is tightly holding my bottle of batch 006.

So what does Joe and company have in store for the next batch?  Distilled in Tennessee, batch 007 comes to market at five years old.  As always, Barrell Bourbon is bottled at cask strength.  In this case it’s 122.4 proof.  The mashbill is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley.

The nose here is fantastic.  Buttered corn grits, Red Hots, maple syrup and a slight touch of dill swarm out of the glass.  The entry is sweet and spicy, almost like a spiced syrup.  That high proof shows itself, adding some bite.  From there, a vibrant citrus note gives way to toasted cereal grain, honey and some oak.  As expected, the finish here is long and warm, leaving behind a sweet maple note.

Barrell Bourbon batch 007 is going to be another hit.  At five years of age, this bourbon is more complex than whiskies twice its age.  To my tastes, however, this one is just a notch less “there” than batch 006, which is still my favorite release to date.  However, this bourbon is no slouch.  Pick up a bottle and find out why Barrell Bourbon will soon be a household name.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Barrell Bourbon.)