Fast on the heels of Drinkhacker’s review of its “four core releases” along with other expressions earlier this year, Broken Barrel has recently released Americana, the latest addition to the core lineup. True to the experimental path they’ve carved for themselves, Americana showcases a particular novelty in their process, which is best shared in their own words:
[Americana features] a mash bill of 80% corn, 14% rye and 6% malted barley. Once aged a minimum of two years, barrels are dumped and batched in a large tank containing broken barrel staves from multiple kinds of casks for further aging and finishing — in this expression, 40% Charred American Oak, 40% Toasted American Oak and 20% American Apple Brandy cask. The team calls this their OakBill.
Let’s break it all down by tasting.
The nose is a vanilla hug with some pop of milk chocolate and a hint of almonds, which essentially describes a Heath bar. The vanilla forward nose is sweet and creamy with an occasional burst of mint. The palate is all kinds of spice – cinnamon red hots, pepper, mint, char – but remarkably complementary to the apple cider and honey sweetness. And I daresay, there is the most noticeable note of acetone here. The mouthfeel is relatively thin which seems to work well with the brightness of the various flavors, coming off as rather refreshing instead of wanting. The finish retains and lingers on the spicy sweetness with a reprieve of soft cornflake undertones. Rarely do I call a whiskey poured neat as “refreshing,” but this comes close.
It does drink on the younger side but certainly does not lack in complexity and range. This pour is remarkably drinkable and sessionable, even at 100 proof, and at $35 MSRP, it’s quite the value. Broken Barrel is seemingly still feeling their way around their zone and experimenting with different finishes, and perhaps they have a special knack in working with the “OakBill.” It will be interesting to see what follows after Americana.
B+ / $35 / brokenbarrel.com