Producer: Barrell Craft Spirits. Distiller: undisclosed Tennessee distiller. ABV: 54.25%. Age: 9 years. Mashbill: 70% corn, 25% rye, 5% malted barley. Price: $80.
Batch 12 is the latest bourbon from Joe Beatrice’s Barrell Craft Spirits, which has been stunningly consistent in the quality of its releases–all cask strength, mostly bourbon, but also including several non-bourbon whiskies, a rum (spectacular), and a rye I’ve yet to try.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 12 shares the same mashbill with Batch 11, and almost certainly the same undisclosed Tennessee distiller, though 12 is a full 3 years older. Side-by-side, the two provide an interesting study in the differences that come with age and barrel selection.
Thane’s review of the Batch 11 highlighted the vanilla, caramel, butter, and peanut brittle profile. The Batch 12, to my palate, forefronts the citrus and spice.
The nose on the Barrell Bourbon Batch 12 is intensely lemon-y, followed by dark heavy oak and saddle leather. Strong black cherries in syrup follow, then intense bitter chocolate–think of those 85% cocoa bars for the truly jaded chocolate geeks.
The caramel and vanilla lead the palate, then comes the spice attack: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. As always with Barrell bourbons, there’s all the room in the world to add water and dial in the intensity however you like. I found Batch 12 most enjoyable with a bit more water than I tend to give even its higher-proof predecessors.
The finish is extraordinarily long. On the dry side, with orange pith recalling the citrusy start.
Batch 11 was a very tough act to follow, winning Best Bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Batch 12 may not surpass it, but it’s another top-quality powerhouse by the man with the golden palate.
Cheers, friends! – BO
Barrell Craft Spirits graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.