Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 34

There have been so many Barrell batches over the years of such reliable quality that bourbon lovers can be forgiven for becoming a bit bored by them. Don’t get me wrong. I mean that as a compliment. Few brands have achieved that kind of consistency with such a truly small batch product. So much so, that it’s rare that I find much to criticize in these releases. Still, it’s even rarer that one comes along and really stands out from the dozens of batches that came before. Which is why I’m excited about the latest release, Batch 34.

The recipe for this latest Barrell Batch is a familiar one: straight bourbons sourced from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana and aged between 6 and 15 years. The final blend stands out among its other Barrell brethren, however, not for some unique aroma or flavor element but for how exceptionally well everything seems to come together. The aroma is big and rich with a traditional profile of dark vanilla bean, toffee, and apple pie. It oozes a dark, caramelized sweetness. With some time to open, brighter peach and orange taffy notes emerge only to give way to candied pecans and molasses cookies. It continues to evolve in the glass but remains comfortably familiar all the while. The palate is exceptionally balanced and exceedingly approachable at cask strength with a generous, even warmth and a remarkable depth of flavor. Mixed berry jam and buttery cinnamon toast kick things off, transitioning to orange peel and dark cherry before a flourish of cream soda, oak, and clove introduce a memorable, dessert-filled finish of peanut butter pie, chocolate sauce, and a bit of red licorice. This bourbon has it all, folks. One of the best Barrell batches to date.

114.62 proof.


Barrell Bourbon Batch 34




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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