2020 has been a helluva year. And while the hits keep on coming with everything else in the world, Barrell Craft Spirits is having possibly its strongest showing of its short time as a company.
Batch’s 023 through 025 delivered hit after hit with Batch 024 showing off what I believe to be the pinnacle of this year’s releases.
Don’t count out Batch 025 either as the wheated bourbons it used helped create a creaminess not normally found in other batches. As November arrived, that meant that it was time for Barrell to release their newest batch yet.
Blending barrels that have aged anywhere from 9-15 years old, they blended different sets together before bringing the whole mix together.
And while I don’t claim to understand all of their processes and procedures, I do firmly believe they know what they’re doing.
Using barrels from TN, KY and IN (likely, the usual suspects Dickel, Barton and MGP), Barrell wanted to make a bourbon that showed off notes of fruit, floral bouquets and spice.
For those new with the company of Barrell, the sheer volume of flavors listed on their website may seem impossible to obtain from just blending barrels together. But rest-assured, they’re there. So how did they do on this batch?
I poured a dram in my trusty Glencairn to find out.
There’s also peanut butter fudge and vanilla bean to add even more sweet treats. One of the wildest aromas, however, is this Pina Colada (pineapple, coconut cream) fruit burst followed by the scent of rose petals that is very close to being covered up, but satisfyingly delicate to detect.
Palate: The mouthfeel on this one is thick and creamy, something I also experienced with Batch 025. The fruit is something I wasn’t expecting much of as I taste raspberries, blackberries, cherries and dried figs.
It’s almost like they used some of the leftover fruit-forward barrels from Batch 021 on this one.
The darker and spicier notes also make themselves known with notes of licorice, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and oak spice. The oak on the tongue is mild, though, which is something I figured there would be a lot more of for having 15 year old barrels blended in.
Finish: A big burst of fruits to include coconut comes busting out followed by a ton of leather that starts to blanket everything.
It’s not a bad thing, it’s just that I struggle to remember another bourbon that had such a powerful punch of leather at the end. Distillate from Cascade Hollow does shine through with a hint of graphite minerality, but it’s well controlled.
There is some brown sugar for sweetness and some white pepper heat that lingers around a while. And just when you think the finish couldn’t possibly have any more notes, mint and a little bit of corn meal come through.
Overall, this finish seems to be dominated by the Barton distillate (leather) and the Cascade Hollow distillate (tropical fruits, corn meal and minerality) but it actually works very well together.
I always love a good batch of Barrell Bourbon, but this one is way up there for me. Seeing as how some of the same distillate is used for all of their batches, you would think it’s hard to identify unique traits in each one, yet they always pull it off.
This particular batch reminded me of the tropical fruit that Batch 017 had coupled with the spice that Batch 018 was legendary for. But that leather note on the finish baffled me because I don’t ever recall one that strong in a previous batch (maybe Batch 024). I’m not complaining, though.
The best part about Batch 026 is just how many flavors there are. Rather than picking out my favorite notes (that Pina Colada though…), I would say that the sheer volume of flavors, textures and scents really set this one on another level.
Barrell Bourbon has done it again and this is a Batch that I thoroughly recommend.
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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