It seems like it never takes long for Barrell Bourbon to come out with more batches. Thankfully, the overall quality in these releases makes them always something I look forward to sampling. We received samples of Batch 26 and Batch 27 for review. Batch 28, the first release for 2021, has already hit shelves, so we’ll bring you our thoughts on that one in due time. Like I said, the bourbon community has a real embarrassment of Barrell riches.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 26 – This release is a blend of straight bourbons from the trio of usual sources (Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee) aged between 9 and 15 years. Actually, it’s a blend of two blends: one that reportedly achieved the oak and baking spice notes Barrell wanted and another that delivered the fruity and floral notes. On the nose, the baking spice blend seems at first to have won out, but as things open up citrus fruits, raisin, and a bit of rosewater emerge. The palate is chewy and bold and chock full of flavor. There’s a lot of cola and cherry juice in this one, along with dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and a healthy dusting of nutmeg. A not insignificant warmth builds with some intensity into the finish, but the flavors are just too rich to be overshadowed. That heat at last gives way to a rush of baked fruits and spice that linger. A standout release. 112.64 proof. A / $89 [BUY IT NOW FROM FROOTBAT]
Barrell Bourbon Batch 27 – The last batch release for 2020, Batch 27 again relies on three different bourbon sources (KY, IN, and TN), but the ages in this blend range from 15 years all the way down to a comparatively youthful 5 years old. On the nose, dark maple and soft oak notes accentuate a distinct, but still subtle, brandied cherry note. As it opens, the fruit stands out more with a bit of milk chocolate and some orange oil. The palate is light but bursting with a juicy, fruity sweetness. I get notes of cherry cobbler and berry jam, almost to the exclusion of everything else. There’s a bit of baking spice and maybe a touch of roasted nuts, especially on the finish, but this really is the cherry bomb Barrell claimed it to be. Ordinarily, something this one dimensional would be a little boring, but what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in execution and a remarkable concentration of flavor. 115.7 proof. A- / $89 [BUY IT NOW FROM FROOTBAT]