Barrell’s one-off bourbon empire has been booming of late, with expansions into rum, single barrel releases, higher-end whiskeys, and innovations like the Barrell Infinite Barrel project. Despite all of that, the bread and butter of the brand remains its Barrell Bourbon line, which is now nearing 20 different small batch releases.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 19, the latest release, is a blend of bourbons aged 9 1/2 to 14 years old, sourced from both Tennessee and Kentucky. Let’s give it a try.
The whiskey offers a classic, high-proof (and rye-centric) bourbon nose: Butterscotch, almonds, and a heavy menthol note. Barrel char is evident but not overwhelming; sweetness and candied nuts have largely taken over the house. The palate arrives to much of the same fanfare: sweet and candylike, but tempered by hints of oak, red pepper, and a eucalyptus note that soothes the sinuses as much as it excites the palate. It’s not a particularly spicy whiskey, and the rather chewy body takes some time to work your way through. Once you do, you’re left with a somewhat syrupy character clinging to the back of the palate, echoing those original butterscotch notes as well as some emerging maple character. Fortunately for a guy with a whiskey sweet-tooth like me, that’s all fine and dandy.
A- / $78 / barrellbourbon.com