Barrell Bourbon Batch 011 Review

Gaining a larger following with each batch, Barrell Craft Spirits has released their latest bourbon.  Batch 011 is a six-year-old bourbon distilled in Tennessee.  Like previous releases, Batch 011 is bottled at cask strength.  In this case 57.4%, or 114.8 proof.  The mash bill for this one is 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley.  The high amount of rye should provide a bit of extra spice.  Let’s see how it fares.

The nose kicks things off with spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves) thanks to the rye grain, followed by thick caramel.  A little airtime develops a bit of sweet corn, along with a buttery dough that reminds me of unbaked cinnamon rolls.  The entry is a little hot, with initial notes of light caramel and slightly sharp rye spice.  There’s a little development beyond that, with hints of cinnamon candy and some herbs emerging.  The finish is chest-warming, and surprisingly clean, with just a short burst of light brown sugar and cinnamon.

In our current “older is better” age (not true, by the way), a six-year-old bourbon might grab the attention of those looking for older releases.  There’s definitely quality in the crafting of the whiskies that make up this batch.  Batch 011 might not turn heads, but it is a beautiful example of a delicious, classic bourbon and shouldn’t be overlooked.  8/10


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

Michter’s 10-Year-Old Bourbon (2017) Review

Michter’s 10-year-old bourbon is a whiskey release I look forward to each year.  Like previous bottlings, the 2017 release is a single barrel bourbon.  This is also a sort of celebratory bottling, timed to commemorate Master Distiller Emeritus Willie Pratt’s induction into Whisky Magazine’s Hall of Fame.  It’s also current Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann’s first 10-year-old Bourbon release.  She recently approved the very delicous 2017 bottling of Michter’s 10-year-old rye whiskey.  So, how’s the whiskey?

The short answer is, well, quite good.

The nose is typical of what I know Michter’s 10-year to be – full of baking spices and wave after wave of caramel and brown sugar, along with hints of integrated corn and vanilla extract.  There’s the occasional whiff of dusty oak.  The palate is rich and buttery, with a blast of creamy vanilla and dark brown sugar.  Cigar box and some herbs soon develop, as well as lightly steeped black tea on the back palate.  This leads to the slightly dry and mildly spicy medium finish.

This all sounds good, and it is.  Michter’s 10 is quite enjoyable.  Comparing to the 2015 and 2016 bottlings, I find this one slightly lacking.  The finish here is a bit drier than recent releases.  Though I’d happily sip on this one, the 2017 Michter’s 10 year doesn’t quite hit the same heights and complexity of recent releases.  8.5/10


Thanks to Michter’s for the sample!  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain Bourbon Review

EHT Four Grain

The newest limited edition bourbon from Buffalo Trace is Colonel E.H. Taylor Four Grain.   It’s a 12-year-old bottled-in-bond bourbon made from corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley.  Most bourbon is made with three grains consisting mostly of corn with a flavoring grain and a very small percentage of barley.  That flavoring grain is typically rye, though some producers use wheat.  This bourbon isn’t the first to feature four grains in its mash bill, but it could go on to become one of the most noteworthy.

“We wanted to extract everything we like from both the rye and the wheat mashbills we currently use and combine them to see how they react,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley in the press release.  “Not surprisingly, it added complexity to the finished product.”

I’m a big fan of the Colonel E.H. Taylor line, from its Small Batch and Single Barrel releases to the recent limited edition Cured Oak.  Last year’s Seasoned Wood was nice enough, but I sadly wasn’t able to get my hands on a bottle.  That’s the problem with limited releases these days.  One thing that might help here is that Buffalo Trace has also announced a bottling of Four Grain to be released next year.  I hope that’s a sign that this whiskey may become a semi-regular addition to the Taylor lineup.  So, how’s the whiskey?

The nose is rounded and sweet, with an initial wave of spiced caramel and vanilla alongside hints of orange jam and herbs.  The entry is initially sweet, with notes of caramel and vanilla.  A small amount of spice comes through.  I’m assuming that’s the rye grain at work.  I also pick up some wonderful candied fruit buried somewhere in the mix.  Some sweet oak adds a touch of astringency on the backend.  The finish is long, sweet and spicy.  Interestingly, a small sip of water afterwards leaves the mouth a bit dry.

All in all, Four Grain is a solid bourbon, but not a particularly memorable one.  I thought a four grain mash bill would lead to a really complex bourbon, and in that regard my expectations weren’t quite met.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice.  The flavors in the bottle play well together, but it left me wanting a little bit more.  That said, I’d gladly pay retail ($69.99) for a bottle, but not a penny more.  8/10

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