Barrell Bourbon has been releasing Single Barrels of their bourbon almost since the very beginning. The numbering system was initially very simple with each barrel being assigned a number starting with “1”. But since they were using the same labeling as their bourbon batches, it became very confusing. Somewhere around Barrell Bourbon Batch 004 or 005, they stopped numbering their single barrels like that and switched to a 4 digit alphanumeric sequence.
Generally, generic store picks were given barrels codes that started with 5Dxx or 7Cxx, but when the 9Exx series came out, many stores opted to buy the whole barrel and were able to put their store name on the top (or charity organization). The hidden secret then came out that some of these barrels that start with “9E” were actually distilled in Indiana (which means MGP). This would later cause consumers to flock to these single barrels and then they would sell out quickly. The “9E” designated barrels stopped being bottled in 2018 and were replaced by a different series of numbers and letters. Still to this day, Barrell has only sold single barrels of MGP bourbon in the 9E line.
Potomac Wine and Spirits
So imagine my surprise when I found that Potomac Wine and Spirits still had their 9E66 Single Barrel for sale AND it was MGP. This barrel was aged for 9 years and bottled at 117.4 proof, which seemed like really solid numbers, so I jumped on this immediately because it is a miracle that they’re not all sold out. So how did Barrell do? I grabbed my dram and poured a drink to find out.
Nose: Great opening salvo of traditional MGP deep seasoned oak, saddle leather, heavy baking spices and heavy vanilla. To my surprise and delight, this MGP barrel had some fruit flavors of juicy fruit gum, big red gum and apricots. I love a bottle of 8-9 year old MGP because it still can have the fruit flavors like this one does.
Palate: A thick coating mouthfeel that delivers the flavor bomb of warm baked cobbler crumble topping, cinnamon stick, toasted pecans and grade B maple syrup. Fruit strikes back up again with an assortment of stone fruits and a touch of drying oak and cigar tobacco.
Finish: A nice peppery high-rye finish shows off with sweet mint, toasted orange rind, caramel fudge and some ginger root. The thick sweetness is nicely enveloped with a cooling menthol hit. It is very well done and I can think of some 12 year MGP that can’t touch this.
A big win for Barrell, as they found a great barrel out there to bottle as is. And a big win for Potomac Wine and Spirits because they are one of the very few stores to get an MGP barrel. I have begun to compile a list of which single barrels were sold to which store and whether or not they are MGP or Dickel distillate. I even have stats like age and proof. Stay tuned for this list when I post it on this website. Until then, just know that this barrel is absolutely a steal for the price (I paid $80) because MGP bourbon is typically around $10/year aged. I do not know how or why Potomac found more of this, but I’m not complaining… I’m just wondering if I should get another bottle before this relic from a long-ago time disappears for good.
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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