Review: Barrell Dovetail

Barrell Craft Spirits, best known for its periodic cask strength releases of bourbon, whiskey, and rye, have added to its portfolio in the last year or so with offerings outside of these traditional batch releases. Dovetail, the first whiskey to actually get a name from Barrell, is one of its most unique projects to date. It’s a blend of 10-year-old Indiana whiskey finished in Cabernet wine barrels from Dunn Vineyards and 11-year-old Tennessee bourbon finished in port pipes and blackstrap rum casks. A little more from Barrell about the inspiration behind this blend:

Dovetail is blended to highlight some of our favorite flavors. Woody bourbon; terroir driven Dunn Cabernet; toasted french oak; Late Bottled Vintage Port pipes; blackstrap molasses casks; all working in tandem to create a buttery and deep whiskey as unique as it is delicious. Dovetail took almost a year to get right, from blending to labeling, all coming together in a seemingly perfect point. We have produced limited releases of Dovetail using the same ingredients and process. With each bottling, there are proof variations.

So how does it taste?

The nose is brooding, spicy, and rich with notes of praline, brown sugar, chocolate covered banana, and dark berry jam. There’s an herbal component here, as well, with mint and pickling spices. The palate is candy sweet and syrupy, showing rum influence (molasses and barbecued pineapple) at the front of the experience, becoming more redolent with dark fruits, savory oak, candied ginger, and black pepper on the medium-plus finish. Like so many of Barrell’s releases, this one is a surprisingly easy sipper at cask strength, but a few drops of water temper the pepper on the palate while amplifying more classic baking spice notes and turning those dark fruits more tropical. A fine addition to the Barrell family.

Reviewed: Batch 1, 122.9 proof.


Barrell Dovetail




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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