Barrell Bourbon Batch 7 – Producer: Barrell Bourbon. Distiller: undisclosed TN distillery. ABV: 61.2%. Age: 5 years. Mash bill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley. Price: $70-80.
Barrell Whiskey Batch 2 – Producer: Barrell Bourbon. Distiller: MGP. ABV: 61.9%. Age: 9.5 years. Mash bill: corn, rye, malted barley (proportions undisclosed). Price: $70-80.
Two exciting new releases from Joe Beatrice of Barrell Bourbon, whose reputation for impeccable taste in sourcing and bottling true single barrel, all-cask strength bourbons and whiskies is growing by the day–and justly so. (See our Joe Beatrice interview here.)
Batch 7 of his bourbon is the youngest yet at 5 years, and Batch 2 of the whiskey has an intriguing sherry cask finish. Let’s dive in!
Barrell Bourbon Batch 7
The nose immediately dispels any concerns that this one might be too young. It’s a straight-up flavor bomb, starting with carts full of sweet toasted tobacco. Dark fragrant oak. Cinnamon. Mint playing at the edges. With a few drops of water, it brightens. With more–and the high proof leaves lots of room to play in–it really comes alive, with the oak blooming into cedar.
On the palate, the oak and mint blend into white pine sap, behind which are baking spices galore: nutmeg and ginger especially. Sweetness and tannins play along the long finish…baked apple with a little char on the bottom.
The image that kept popping into my mind was of a lacquered box. It takes a fair bit of water to open it properly, but the goodies inside make it worth the effort.
Bourbon Whiskey Batch 2
Cask-finished American whiskies are more common than they used to be, but I’ve never had one done this well.
The nose has the bright buttery baked-goods notes familiar from other excellent Barrell bottlings of MGP whiskies–think fresh challah with a golden crust. But then! Utterly bewitching velvety warmth from the sherry cask.
A little water unlocks roasted cocoa beans, along with pleasantly musty mature barrel notes common in 21+ year old single malt Scotches. The palate explodes with buttery MGP goodness and sherry fruits–dry at first, then juicier with time and water. Graham cracker and fresh tobacco. The finish reintroduces each element one and at a time, letting you savor the whole experience over again in a slow fade.
Amazing how well the sherry flavors integrate. It reminded me of the Kings County Peated Bourbon in this respect: there, the toasty flavors from the peat blended in so well, I wondered whether a blind taster would identify the presence of peat at all. With the Barrell Whiskey Batch 2, I wonder whether a blind taster would identify the finish as sherry–or just beg for a second pour.
Two more excellent outings from a man who loves what he does, and does it damn well. Cheers, friends! – BO
Mash + Grape kindly provided samples for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.