Barrell Bourbon’s huge success with Batch 005 had caught the attention of bourbon thrill seekers looking for something new and unique. So when Barrell launched batch 006, the shelves were quickly emptied of the (relatively) small amount of bottles that were produced (+5,400) For reference, there were more Lux Row Double Barreled 12 year old bottles made than Barrell Batch 006. And the Lux Row DB bottle is sold only in the distillery.
The back of the bottle claims “Distilled in Tennessee” which surely means Dickel bourbon, but the mashbill was a slight oddity at 70% corn, 26% rye and 4% malted barley. The oddity was that Barrell had been bottling Dickel’s 70/25/5 in their recent bourbon batches and single barrels, so it makes me pause and wonder why this mashbill was even created and why so few barrels were filled with it.
But with Batch 006, Barrell had a second hit on their hands with a bottle that was cementing their position in the premium bourbon category nationwide. People were buying this relatively unknown brand based more on positive word of mouth than they were on just brand recognition alone. So how does this bottle taste? I sampled this neat and from a glencairn.
Nose: Rich caramel sauce drizzled on nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled French Toast. The oak in the background seems more toasted than charred. There’s a small hint of crushed peanuts and brown butter. If I search long enough, I do detect a very mild amount of fresh cut bananas or plantains. But mainly, the nose is very similar to a bottle of Booker’s or Baker’s in the fact that it’s very dessert-like.
Palate: The palate starts off very clean with flavors that patiently wait in line for you to detect. There’s no hot-spots, but there is a lot of sweet flavors like caramel fudge, cinnamon stick, a bit of clove, “Grade A” maple syrup and fig jam. Rounding off all of those fantastic flavors, there’s also toasted bread with melted butter. I detect cherry licorice in the small amounts as I’m rolling the drink around in my mouth.
Finish: Cinnamon leads the pleasant wave of heat that quickly dissipates and leaves a very even amount of caramel and oak on the finish. It’s somewhat simple, but it combines very potent amounts of the two most distinguished profiles in bourbon, perhaps better than almost any other bourbon I’ve had in a long, long time. As the tasting session goes on, these two traits remain, but the oak becomes slightly more dry with every sip, which shortens the finish.
Initially, I was somewhat unimpressed by Batch 006 only because a bottle that was rated so highly was somewhat simple and didn’t seem to have the hallmark of a unique Barrell product. This opinion has changed slightly (and I have increased the score) after several re-tastes.
I have come to appreciate the differences and find that everything this bourbon does, it does very well. I still prefer Batch 005 to this, but this batch has its place in Barrell lore as the one that does everything exactly as it should, with maturity beyond its 8 1/2 year old age statement.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
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