Skip to Content

Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024 Review

Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024 Review

Barrell Bourbon’s annual “New Year” release returns again with what appears to be much of the same formula as last year’s New Year release. Of course, Barrell does not give us exact ratio breakdowns or the distilleries names that they are sourcing from, but suffice to say there are only so many distilleries that they can source from in a few of those states. Since Barrell only lists the name of the states that the barrels have been sourced from, they appear identical from last year’s New Year release (albeit it in slightly different order). They are Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Wyoming, Texas, Maryland and New York.

Where did all of these barrels come from?

Let’s chalk up the “Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky” sources to the usual suspects, but I do want to say that Barrell has hinted that they may be sourcing barrels from some other Kentucky distilleries not named Barton. The Wyoming component is easy to pinpoint because there is only one distillery in Wyoming with that kind of capacity: Wyoming Whiskey. The Ohio component is likely Watershed Distillery. I say that because more NDP’s are showing up using their liquid lately. The Maryland component is almost surely from Sagamore Spirit. I had my doubts that it was them because I had only ever seen them make rye whiskey (even though they have the most still capacity in Maryland). But many of us caught on to the fact they have been making a bourbon after the release of Lost Ark Distilling’s Trailblazer bourbon (which was sourced from Sagamore).

The two wild cards I don’t have a bead on are the Texas component and the New York component. I’ve heard rumors that the Texas barrels have been sourced from TX Distilling at a younger age which would make sense since most Texas bourbons don’t age past 3 or 4 years. The New York component could be from Finger Lakes. I say this only because many of their barrels have found their way into brands like Lost Lantern and Bourbon Pursuit’s own line of blended whiskies: Pursuit Spirits.

The ranges of bourbon in this batch ranges from 5 years (Indiana, Texas, Ohio and Maryland) all the way up to 15 years (from Tennessee). Surprisingly, Barrell has let the Wyoming Whiskey barrels continue to age instead of vatting them – so they are now 11 years old. I’m sure there is a way to do the math to find out how much Wyoming Whiskey was used in this blend knowing that the standard Wyoming Whiskey mash bill uses 20% wheat and the total amount of wheat in the derived mash bill of NY 2024 is listed as 1%.

Barrell’s new “Foundation” release and what it means for New Year 2024

If you let the release of Barrell Bourbon’s “Foundation” pass by without looking much into it, let me explain the concept. In Barrell’s new blending facility, they have installed five massive 10,000 gallon vatting tanks and three 8,000 gallon vatting tanks. In one of these tanks, they’ve created a “Foundation” blend which will be used exactly as the name implies: as the foundation of future bourbon batches. That means that all (or most at least) batches will start out with this base blend of bourbons and then Barrell’s blending team will layer in other barrels to create a unique flavor profiles while still having the same underlying flavors.

I made this little infographic picture to demonstrate the future of Barrell’s bourbon by showing how they’re going to use this foundational blend from here on out. This is a radical departure from how Barrell had been doing business for the last 9 years and I’m not sure what I think about it yet. Part of the magic was always that you would be getting something new and different with every batch. Now there is going to be a sort of familiarity that ties them all together. What do you think about this decision?

Barrell Bourbon New Year – the blend that made it cool to mingle bourbon from different states

Now that I have speculated about the sources of the blend, can all of those bourbons work well together? That is what I hope to find out. In previous years they have! And we have to remember that Barrell New Year is the original label that started the whole trend of Barrell blending together barrels from more than one distillery. Their first New Year edition was launched in 2016 (as Barrell New Year 2017) and saw bourbon from Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee blended together. Several months later, Barrell released Bourbon Batch 13 which broke the tradition of the previous 12 batches which had only blended together barrels from the same distillery.

A special thanks to Barrell for sending me this year’s New Year for me to try. Let’s see how they’ve done. I sampled this neat in a glencairn.

Tasting Notes

Nose: While nosing the glass, I am finding that the base scents are more youthful in tone than a typical bourbon. Classic bourbon notes usually revolve around caramel, vanilla and oak. Barrell New Year skips all of that and centers around fruit notes with the occasional spice or dessert scent here and there. This has been a developing trend over the years with this label. I also feel like I should mention that this is what makes it much different from the standard bourbon batches they’ve put out over the years.

Getting back to the bourbon at hand, the fruit notes are numerous and varied. I am finding black cherries and maraschino cherries as well was lemon custard and a little bit of baked orchard fruit. Rye spices tickle my nose with a small amount of “green” herbal qualities and a healthy dose of cinnamon and allspice. I am finding a note similar to crushed stone (minerally) and some chocolate. There is even a doughy note that I am thinking could be the result of the craft bourbon or the wheated component.

Palate: The initial tastes that hit my tongue center around Mexican Chocolate and red pepper flakes. The Mexican Chocolate has a lot of cinnamon notes within and even some almond nuttiness. Sweetness comes from Halloween Candy Corn. Tannins are mostly from leather and stale tobacco leaf. Of course there are lots of fruits buried in each sip like cherries, citrus peel and strawberry cream. Overall, this is a unique sipping experience that is almost the opposite of a traditional Kentucky bourbon.

Finish: The one thing that I notice immediately with the finish is just how prickly the spices are after the sip is complete. The oak reveals itself, but is somewhat drying on my tongue. There is Nesquik powder and vanilla marshmallow. The fruits disappear quickly with orchard fruits left in the aftertaste. Overall, the finish feels a bit disjointed.

Score: 7.5/10

I’ll admit that I’m a little late on reviewing the 2023 version of Barrell New Year; but I think something happened between the last batch I reviewed (Barrell New Year 2022) and this one that could show me the missing link in what exactly changed. I know that for years, the bourbons that have been used in the final product have becoming increasingly younger and have much more emphasis on the craft distilleries they came from. This is now culminating in a bourbon profile that is totally unlike anything before it – or maybe even on the market today. It almost resembles the sweet fruitiness of a finished bourbon even though no finishing barrels were used.

I will give Barrell a lot of credit – they blended this to the point where any off-putting youthful notes like green wood, earth or astringency do not shine through. I’m a bit dumbfounded how they did that while still allowing so many fruit notes to remain (something that is a positive aspect of younger whiskies).

I won’t begin to guess how blending like that works, but what I realized is that this is not a bourbon intended for the bourbon traditionalists out there. It’s going to seem foreign to many of them without caramelized sugars, vanilla or oak. But to a new bourbon drinker that is exploring higher proofs and more whiskey profiles, Barrell New Year 2024 should be a great starting place.

Final Thoughts

Barrell has been in the business of blending sourced whiskies (and other spirits) for 10 years now. They know what they’re doing, but the landscape has changed. No longer can they buy hundreds of 8-12 year old whiskey on the cheap. They have to compete for anything much older than 5 years at this point and margins are already getting pretty thin. All of this is to say that the blends they are coming out with now are much different than they were years ago. Craft distilleries are producing good spirits, but they all have a different taste than what many enthusiasts might be used to. The question that New Year 2024 asks is “are you bored with tradition and ready for a different bourbon in your life?” If the answer is yes, then Barrell New Year is for you.

Featured Products

  • Neat Traveler
  • View Larger
  • Description:The Aged & Ore Neat Traveler is a complete travel kit for spirits. We combined our widely praised Neat Glass with one of our 3oz Flight Bottles and housed them together in a custom EVA travel case. Perfect for a night away with your favorite pour. The tie
  • Bottle Flight
  • View Larger
  • Description:The Aged & Ore Bottle Flight is a premium set of 4 custom silicone wrapped glass bottles designed to transport and share samples of your favorite spirits. The flight bottles come in a custom EVA travel case that fits perfectly in any small bag. An Aged &
  • Travel Bundle
  • View Larger
  • Description:This Bundle combines two of our crowd favorite products, creating the ultimate travel bundle to bring along your favorite spirits and glassware. Bundle Includes: Neat Traveler (Gray) Bottle Flight (Gray) Note: This bundle is only available in gray and col

*Bourbon Culture is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.