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Barrell Whiskey Batch 005 Review

Barrell Whiskey Batch 005 Review

Barrell Whiskey Batch 005 continued to build upon the more creative blends that Barrell was tinkering with up to that point.  Not to be outdone by Batch 004’s Rum and Rye barrels, Barrell used four different finishing barrels for this blend.  American Brandy, Cognac, Bourbon and Amaro barrels were all used to finish whiskey from Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.  Most of us might casually glance over the word “Amaro” and read it as “Amaretto” like I did, but they are worlds apart.  Amaro is an aperitif (liqueur) that is made from herbs.  Literally meaning “bitter” in Italian, it certainly does not sound like something you’d want in your drink, but then again, bitters are a popular additive to many cocktails that contain whiskey.

So with all of these flavors swirling around, how does a Frankenstein (‘s monster) whiskey like this taste?  I sampled this neat and from a glencairn to find out.

Tasting Notes


Nose: The nose is sweet and light.  There’s essences of Grade A maple syrup, vanilla extract and almond extract.  In fact, the whole almond aroma morphs into a style of almond cookies that I could find in my local German bakery.  Not to be outdone, there’s also some substantial fruits in the aroma as well with plums and red grapes showing up with every sniff.  This is truly a unique nose.

Palate: The palate starts with sweet Lambrusco wine made even sweeter with a couple dashes of grenadine.  The sweet flavors get even better with Milky Way candy bars and a little Hawaiian Punch.  There’s a little bit of herbal bitterness that comes in and out in small amounts, but the heat on the tongue is making it hard to pick up the finer traits of this whiskey.

Finish:  The finish is sweet and a little spicy with plum pudding and port wine mixed together.  There’s some spicy prickles here and there with some of the herbs I was aware of on the palate, but they quickly get extinguished by a long menthol cooling sensation.

Score: 7.5/10


This whiskey was a really fun example of what different barrel finishes can do to a blank canvas like this whiskey.  With so many brandy-esque finishes, it was apparent early on that this would be a sweet treat.  But with an American whiskey being the base stock, there was not much body to stiffle the heat on the palate, unlike a bourbon at this age.  This kept the heat up for most of the drink which isn’t a big deal, but it might turn off some novice drinkers.  I don’t know how much the Amaro added to the overall profile, but I’m going to say very little.  If it made this more round and stopped some of the sweet notes to not be as cloying, then I’d say it did its job. 

Final Thoughts

All in all, Batch 005 was a nice surprise and a great bottle of whiskey for the price (this was $59).  I hope that Barrell only continues to get more crazy with the finishes in pursuit of that ultimate one.

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Ratings Breakdown

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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