Barrell Bourbon rolled out with Batch 009 in 2016 in what would be their highest aged product and lowest proofed batch at that time. At 13 years old and sourced from Tennessee (Dickel), this was significantly older than its oldest release at that time, which was Batch 008B (10 years old). According to Barrell, Batch 009 also utilizes a mashbill that has not been seen before or after its release: 75% corn, 18% rye and 7% malt. This makes it a lower rye mashbill than the typical Dickel that they had been sourcing up until that point (70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malt).
To veer off track for a moment, my curiosity has been piqued with all of these different mashbills that Dickel produced throughout the early 2000’s. I’ve identified at least 3 different mashbills from that era that were all what I would classify as high rye (18%, 25% and 26% were used) and then just a couple years later, they’ve all vanished. Now their standard mashbill uses only a low rye (8%) mashbill. What I’ve noticed is that the infamous Dickel multivitamin taste that a lot of people complain about is sharply reduced with the addition of more rye. So if this is a trait that a lot of people have issues with when it comes to George Dickel’s mashbill, then why doesn’t Dickel revert back to a higher rye one? Or offer two mashbills?
Anyway, back to the review at hand. Batch #009 received very high praise back in 2016, selling out quickly and becoming one of the four most-revered Barrell Bourbon batches (the others being #005, #006 and #011). But does all of that praise translate into a great bourbon? Or is it just hype? I finally landed a bottle and cracked it open to find out. This was sampled neat and in a glencairn.
Nose: An intense seasoned wood blast hits your nose and provides a warning for what follows: this dram is intense. There’s a delicious dessert array of vanilla custard (almost bordering on flan), cherry strudel and sweet whipping cream. The seasoned wood in the beginning transforms into charred wood as you drink and I also notice a very slight peanut funk.
Palate: The palate keeps the delicious baked goods theme alive with cinnamon rolls, cherry + apple pie filling and thick caramel. There’s also some pleasant fruit notes that my tongue picks up from time to time with cherry, orange and lemon flavors all present. The distillate shows its age when tobacco leaf and a somewhat bitter oak show up to add depth and a nice contrast to all the sweet that’s going on.
Finish: Sometimes the finish can let down drams that have been so good up until this point, but not this glass. There’s sweet mint, cherry lozenges, cinnamon-spiced honey and sweet chocolate chips that area all present along with deep tannic notes like saddle leather. It’s layered and long.
This is quite possibly one of the best batches of barrels from Dickel (and I’m a huge fan of Batch 005). Barrell Bourbon really knew they had something when they put these all together. This is the epitome of what an aged whiskey should be and may be the standard-bearer of what the Lincoln County Process can produce.
Basically, by charcoal filtering the distillate before aging in the barrel, it reduces the ability to get over-oaked while allowing that extra time to extract just about everything it can from the barrel during that decade+ that it ages. The layered nuances of Batch 009 make it one of the better examples of what all whiskey strives to contain: various spices, tannins and fruit flavors. The trifecta of whiskey as it were. If you ever get the opportunity to purchase this bottle, I’d highly encourage you to pull the trigger, because this golden era of sourced barrels may never come around again.
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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