Barrell Bourbon Batch 012 marks what I view as the tectonic shift in the direction that Barrell Craft Spirits began to move into the future. Batches 001 through 012 were all bourbons that were batched, but from the same distillery. After Barrell Batch 012, every batch would now contain at least 2 or more distilleries products, blended together. With that being said, this was the last we’d see Barrell explicitly listing a mashbill for their bourbons as well. The mashbill for Batch 012 is the standard odd-Dickel mashbill of 70/25/5 that they had used for a majority of their previous bourbon batches.
Coming off the heels of 3 wildly popular (and cult status to some) batches: 009, 010 and 011, would Batch 012 prove its acumen or would it live in the shadow of its predecessors? I sampled this neat and in a Glencairn.
Nose: The nose opens with the nutty scents of toasted walnuts and pecans. There’s also savory slices of squash roasting on a pan, which is a scent that I can’t say I’ve ever had before. Sugar cookies and caramel add a layer of sweetness and gives it a classic bourbon profile, but there’s also a bit of burnt (or charred) wood that is detected.
Palate: The palate is big on Charleston Chew candy bar as well as nutmeg spice and sweet butterscotch. I get some chocolate covered bananas as well, which is a really fun treat. I quite enjoy this palate.
Finish: For not having a lot of fruit notes, I finally get orange zest on the finish along with gingersnap cookies, which hint to the large amount of rye in the mashbill. The heat is restrained, but present and dried oak and vanilla frosting keep each other check, not allowing the finish to get too sweet or too dry.
Barrell Bourbon is not my favorite batch (that’s reserved for Batch 009) and it’s not my least favorite batch, but it’s a great end to the run of single-source batched bourbon that brought the company into the mainstream. I’d still like to see Barrell give us another all-TN, all-IN or all-KY batched release, but they’re on a roll with nailing down profiles and finding barrels that fit the mold.
As for Batch 012, the thing I liked most about it was that it reminded me of Batch 013, which also has a savory note in the whiskey. These bottles can still be found at just a handful of stores around the US if you look hard enough, but they’re going fast and you should try to pick this up if you see it.
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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