Another year down means another Barrell New Year batch to help us celebrate. Or forget. Usually, a bit of both. Barrell continues its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to this specialty blend, adhering closely to the 2023 playbook with a cornucopia of bourbons distilled in eight different states and spanning 5 to 15 years old. While the bourbons all appear to be distilled from the same locales as last year, that age range has crept up owing to the inclusion (presumably minimal) of 11-year-old Wyoming whiskey and 15-year-old Tennessee whiskey. The resulting mashbill is reportedly a four-grain recipe of 72% corn, 22% rye, 5% malted barley, and 1% wheat. Let’s check it out.
The aroma opens with notes of chewy caramel, butterscotch, and baking spice with subtler undertones of candy apple and dark cherry. It’s a somewhat classic bouquet for a release that can sometimes be an aroma roller coaster. Notes of old oak and damp basement creep in as it opens in the glass, adding impressive depth and hinting at the older stock in the mix (which may be more plentiful than I originally assumed). The palate is rich and elegant with a healthy, persistent spice across the sip and a hugging warmth. Notes of dark brown sugar, toffee, and pie spice give way to buttery brioche and orange sherbet, all woven together with peppery, seasoned oak. The finish is long and simmering, dusted in cinnamon sugar with notes of butterscotch candies, lemon drops, and buttercream. The best New Year release yet. Let’s hope it’s a good omen for 2024, otherwise I’m going to need a lot more of these.