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Barrell Bourbon Batch 007 and 007b

Barrell Bourbon Batch 007 and 007b

The thing about Barrell Bourbon that allures to a lot of people is that they don’t have some crazy, made-up story behind the name of their brand. 

No Great Grand Dad’s, no farms that people grew up on, no stories of famous Prohibition-era icons.  It’s simply a name.  But when a name lacks any kind of story, it’s interesting when you do hear the distiller give a fun story about one of their products. 

It just so happens one of those stories did happen with how Barrell Batch 007b came to be. 

Barrell Batch 007

Barrell Batch 007 followed on the heels of the wildly popular Batch 005 and 006 bottlings which won huge awards and sold out everywhere. 

So everyone was eager to grab a bottle of the new Batch 007 figuring that this might be the only time to get one before it sold out as quick as the last two did. 

I’m sure there were a lot of happy people working within Barrell at that time who were pleased to see their latest bottling fly off the shelves. 

The story starts out that the management noticed how fast Batch 007 was disappearing and it there was still some time left before Batch 008 was scheduled to come out. 

So the management decided that maybe they should go grab some of the extra barrels that were used to blend together Batch 007 and make some more. 

Apparently, Barrell saves some of the barrels from previous batches to experiment on or maybe blend into a later batch.  Anyway, it had been 14 weeks (basically, the entire summer) since the first batch of barrels were dumped and bottled by time Barrell went back to get them from the Old Taylor warehouse. 

By the way, the Old Taylor warehouse is just one of many locations that Barrell leases out to store the barrels they procure, like these that were trucked up from Tennessee. 

So they were loaded back on a truck to go back to their facility to blend.  But a strange thing happened during those 14 weeks and one extra truck ride… the profile of the distillate inside had changed noticeably. 

The proof had lowered and the hot, spicy nature of Batch 007 was now more mellow and woody.

By the time they found all of this out and mulled over what to do with this batch, it was too late, Batch 008 was already going to hit the shelves. 

So rather than continue naming this a different batch, it was bottled as “Batch 007b” to symbolize it was a sibling to another batch rather than a whole new one. 

Whether or not you believe this to be intentional or accidental, this is an interesting science lesson to show how related barrels, with 14 weeks of summertime heat separating them, compare with each other. 

So I decided to taste them both side by side to see what  changed and what stayed the same.  I did not elect to do this blind, because when a producer says that they have two different but similar products, I tend to believe them. 

I just wanted to do notes on their differences.  So without further ado, I have sampled them both side by side, neat and from a Glencairn.

Tasting Notes: Batch 007


Nose: The nose starts off with a savory scent which is a very strange feat for a bourbon.  In fact, mingled with the scent of cornmeal, I would say that the nose is extremely similar to freshly-made tortilla chips. 

There’s some great sweet notes that also follow, which lend to the perfect “sweet & salty” mixture that is craved by snacking addicts.  I detect toffee and almond-flour pancakes drizzled with a sweet syrup.  I also detect a bit of dried cherry fruit scents lurking around.

Palate: The palate on this one is hot.  Flakes of black and white pepper attack my tongue immediately.  But if you can work through the heat, you’ll find some pungent tannin notes like rich, dry tobacco leaf and drying oak. 

The sweetness and complexity is like warm root beer (sarsaparilla root is very noticable), but it has plenty of sweet caramel to balance out the heat and tannins.  These make for a tremendously complex tasting bourbon because your tongue tours the entire spectrum of common bourbon flavors.

Finish: As soon as you swallow, the heat from the palate begins to dissipate allowing you to recognize more of the flavors that you may have missed fighting with the palate. 

There is apple slices dipped in salted caramel hiding within some of the residual peppery notes.  There’s also oak and some barrel char floating about.  It’s strange that a bourbon with only 5 years of age can taste so oaky at the end.

Score: 7.8/10


Tasting Notes: Batch 007B

Nose: Instead of a typical bourbon nosing scent of caramel, I’m detecting more of a butterscotch sweetness on this one.  There’s some great baking spices like cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg. 

There’s also some of the typical Dickel corn grain that shines through, but this one is more like the scent of buttery polenta rather than cast iron skillet cornbread.  The fruit seems lacking on this one, but there is a little bit of citrus-y orange zest if you search hard enough.

Palate: In typical Dickel fashion, I detect notes of nuts, but it’s hard to determine if they’re closer to almonds or walnuts..  But it’s also mixed with some slight baking chocolate notes here and there. 

The baking spices on this are soft and aren’t packing nearly as much heat at Batch 007 was.  There’s cinnamon, clove and some black pepper to give it that kick of heat. 

Some nice fruit flavors like raspberry and orange jolly ranchers come alive and add an extra lush layer to the palate.

Finish: The fruit flavors that I detected on the palate are still very present when the sip is done.  Orange, lemon and raspberry all remain coated to my tongue. 

There is a pleaseant cigar tobacco aftertaste that lets you enjoy the richness that this bourbon contains. Of note, I’m actually getting some more traditional rye herbal notes, where I normally only get the black pepper spice when it comes to distillate that’s gone through the Lincoln County Process.  

Score: 7.7/10


I know this sounds crazy to say, but I preferred the wild, untamed character of Batch 007 to the much more relaxed Batch 007b. 

I can understand how Batch 007b allures to the drinker that wants a relaxing sipper, but if I’m pouring something that I really want to stand out, Batch 007 scratches that itch. 

This is not a new surprise for readers of my previous reviews where I picked the much more untamed Barrell Batch 005 to the buttoned down Batch 006 or even the wild Stagg Jr. Batch 9 compared to the docile Stagg Jr. Batch 13.  

Final Thoughts

So I’ll leave you with this in terms of what you should buy if you only had to choose one.  Do you want a fiery character and intensity of Batch 007 or do you want the potent, rocking-chair sipper that is Batch 007b?  Whatever you choose, at least you’re getting a damn good pour in your glass. 

Ratings Breakdown

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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