Even though Barrell has been busy building an entire new line of whiskeys (more on that in a future review), that hasn’t put even a slight pause in the schedule of periodic bourbon batch releases. The first for 2021 is Batch 28, another blend of straight whiskeys sourced from distilleries in Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Recent Barrell batches have blended bourbons of wildly varying ages, as young as five years and as old as 15, but this blend comprises stocks aged 10 to 11 years, squarely in the middle of those blends. Let’s put this one through its paces, shall we?
On the nose, there’s an initial burst of dried stone fruit with a little sweet cocktail cherry and golden raisin in evidence. As it opens in the glass however, the sweetness gives way to notes of leather and barrel char laced with a bit of maple syrup and wet tobacco leaf. It’s more restrained than other Barrell releases, but still engaging. The palate is punchy with bright, sweet fruits: brandied cherry, tinned pears, and candied orange peel. Some peanut brittle shows up on the mid-palate, struggling at times to stand up to all that fruit cocktail while softening the saccharine edges with savory sea salt and boiled nuts. The finish finally pumps the brakes on the candy shop notes with a chalky minerality and some dry, woody tannins that help to maintain the concentrated, fruit-forward profile sans syrup. Batch 27 was definitely a cherry bomb, but this one showcases the whole fruit salad.