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.


Booker’s Bourbon “Front Porch Batch” 2017-03 Review

After a hard day’s work, sometimes there’s nothing better than sipping a glass of whiskey on your porch. That’s exactly what Booker’s “Front Porch Batch” celebrates. The third of four 2017 releases is already on shelves. This batch of Jim Beam’s cask strength bourbon is bottled at 62.95%, or 125.9 proof. For the whiskey geek, here’s a breakdown of which 9-story warehouses barrels for Front Porch Batch were pulled from:

  • 8% from 5th floor of warehouse D
  • 14% from 7th floor of warehouse D
  • 37% from 4th floor of warehouse E
  • 5% from the 5th floor of warehouse E
  • 16% from the 6th floor of warehouse E
  • 20% from the 4th floor of warehouse F

On the nose, this batch of Booker’s is full of charred corn, peanut brittle, vanilla and the lightest touch of fresh tobacco. The palate bursts with hints of buttered cornbread, caramel chews, nougat, roasted peanuts and some oak. The entry is a bit hotter than usual, but that burn goes away rather quickly. The body is still pretty chewy, as expected with Booker’s. Compared to other batches, the finish slightly disappoints. It carries a vanilla-tinged sweet corn and oak flavor, which is normal. However, and this is confirmed with the batch’s official tasting notes, the finish is a bit shorter than usual. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I expect a long finish from my glass of Booker’s.

At the end of the day, most batches of Booker’s taste pretty similar. Though they follow a specific flavor profile, each batch can be slightly different. Front Porch Batch is still an enjoyable glass of bourbon, but not the best Booker’s can offer. 8/10


Old Forester Statesman Bourbon Review

When the trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle debuted online, I literally jumped for joy.  Kingsman was an insane thrill ride.  It’s sort a of 007 on speed all the while winking to the audience.  The sequel, which opens in theatres this Friday, looks to be even wilder.

Movie tie-ins are nothing new.  Sometimes they seemed forced, but every now and then they’re done right.  In the first film, the cover for the secret organization was a tailor’s shop.  In the new film, their American counterpart’s cover: a Kentucky bourbon distillery.  The filmmakers teamed up with none other than Old Forester to create a quality bourbon that would fit right in with the over-the-top world of The Kingsman.

Not that the bourbon is over-the-top.  Well, maybe a little.  This ain’t the Old Forester you’re used to.

The nose is notably spicier than the standard Old Forester.  There is lots of oak spice, which makes me think a lot of the barrels for this release were pulled from upper warehouse floors.  Some hot cocoa, vanilla extract and caramel balance out that spice.  On entry, a sort of spiced vanilla custard, the kind topped with ground cinnamon, plays strongly and is complimented by orange zest.  Some baking spice and a hint of leather on the midpalate add more complexity.  The finish is long, with orange dreamsicle and mint lingering.

Old Forester set out to make a whiskey that balanced spice and heat, and they’ve succeeded.  The volume’s turned up from the standard Old Forester flavor profile, but is still built around the distillery’s DNA.  The whiskey is both familiar and new.  I know what I’m sneaking into the theatre when I watch this film.  7.5/10