The way that Barrell Craft Spirits had always blended their bourbon batches (#001 through #012) was that they’d take distillate from only one distiller (usually always Dickel, but MGP and a KY distiller had singular batches as well) and blend it together into a homogenous batch trying to highlight a particular flavor profile.
But Barrell Bourbon Batch 013 changed all of that. For the first time, Barrell began to blend two different distillates together in an effort to create a taste that couldn’t be found in just one traditional distiller. The label indicates that they took 5 and 8 year old distillate from an Indiana source (MGP) and Tennessee source (Dickel) to make this batch. Digging deeper, the Barrell website says that the Indiana barrels are 5 years old and they’ve been blended with both 5 and 8 year old Tennessee barrels as well.
Barrell bottles are typically priced into the premium range, so let’s see if Batch #013 really delivers a premium experience. For this review, I sampled this neat and in a glencairn.
Nose: An opening salvo of bright floral notes like geraniums and fresh cedar wood that give way to more citrusy traits like lemon zest and orange marmalade. There are fruity scents such as stewed dark fruits and inviting sweet scents like caramel and butterscotch. There is also a tiny bit of peanut that wafts in that is a small telltale sign of the Dickel distillate. It’s a delicious melody.
Palate: Whereas the nose has more hints of sweet notes, the palate gives way to a savory side (still with an underlying sweetness). Oily nuts, browned butter, salted caramel, textbook Dickel vitamin minerality and some of the orange marmalade from the nose sneaking in at the end.
Finish: The MGP traits finally begin to show up on the finish with rye spices and cinnamon that highlights the warmness of this bourbon. The rye is further evident by a touch of pine and clove. There are a few tannic notes like charred oak that help even everything out, but overall the finish is not as sweet as the nose and palate.
This Barrell Bourbon Batch 013 is extremely unique. It was one of the first bourbons I experienced that had a noticeable savory note in it. Not to spoil other Barrell Bourbon reviews, but this is a trend that is continued in each subsequent batch that blends together two or more different distillates.
The ability to create different and unique tastes not normally associated with any one distiller produces a product that can rightfully command a premium because nobody else is making an experience like this. Well, with the exception of J. Mattingly’s special trash can blends. If you’re in the market for a highly unique bourbon, look no further than Barrell Batch #013. And don’t wait too much longer, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
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)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
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