whiskey

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.

Review: Booker’s Bourbon “Shiny Barrel Batch” 2019-02

Back in the day, when late Master Distiller Booker Noe would walk through the warehouses looking for ‘honey barrels,’ he’d look for shiny ones. Why shiny? Distillery warehouse workers would occasionally sneak a sip from barrels. As they thieved some whiskey, they’d rub up against the barrel and remove the dust… hence shiny barrels. The shinier the barrel, the more its contents had been sampled by the warehouse workers. It’s one of the ways Noe knew which barrels to look at first when batching together his namesake whiskey. Most of those barrels were found in the center of the warehouses.

“Shiny Barrel Batch” is 6 years, 5 months, and a day old and bottled at cask strength – 124 proof.

After the previous batch being dominated by its nutty quality, Booker’s has shifted coarse back to a balanced bourbon with this batch. The nose features hints of vanilla bean, red fruit, caramel corn, and a bit of oak. The entry is a bit fiery at first, but calms slightly and presents notes of buttered corn, vanilla cream, and caramel. Red fruit and tobacco leaf appear in the mid-palate alongside some oak spice and Beam’s roasted peanut note. The latter is presented in its usual supporting nature as opposed to dominating. The finish is long with lingering hints of spiced caramel and oak.

I’m happy to report Booker’s “Shiny Barrel Batch” is more balanced than the previous batch. It’s classic Booker’s – big, bold, boisterous, flavorful, and balanced. Recommended! 8/10

Bookersbourbon.com

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