Barrell New Year Cask Strength (2022 Edition), 57.67%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Licorice, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, raspberry jelly, fragrant wild herbs, whiffs of polished oak, and a hint of bubble gum on the nose. The palate offers strawberry shortcake, allspice, ground chile pepper, and bitter espresso. Water brings out more peppery spice and dark chocolate. Excellent length on the finish, with semi-sweet chocolate cake, plum tart, cherry coulis, and savory spice at the back. Spicy, rich, lively, and flavorful. (18,000 bottles) Editor's Choice
Black cherry tartness, new leather, and clove-studded orange, along with bubble gum, cream soda, and chocolate layer cake sprinkled with cocoa powder. Flavorful and spicy on the palate, showing strawberry, baking spice, and cinnamon bun, with the flavors holding together superbly. Definitely needs water. A long, balanced finish offers generous helpings of cinnamon and more chocolate. Very high proof, but does not hide behind it—a well-built whiskey. (5,100 bottles)
Barrell 10 year old Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 020), 53.35%
Bourbon/Tennessee | $90
Strikingly mature and rich, yet also lively and vibrant, this whiskey tempts with a host of vanilla treats, including Nilla wafers, milkshake, and butter pecan ice cream. Lurking just beneath are deeper nutty flavors, saddle leather, crushed blueberry, and warm apple butter. The palate shows a lot of gusto and while it certainly doesn’t need water, a splash rewards by unleashing the ample oak, coupled with heaps of Peanut Chews, dried apple, and more leather on the beautifully balanced finish.
Pastry shop aromas permeate the nose: blueberry crumble with crusted brown sugar,
fresh-baked muffin, boysenberry syrup, and fragrant peaches, nectarines, and orange
peel. The palate pops with lively citrus, a surprising but not unwelcome element that
plays well with toasted almond, chestnut honey, and nutty oak flavors. It finishes with
roasted peanuts, bittersweet chocolate, and tea leaf, still retaining peppy citrus.
The unusual cask finish lends a minty herbal note throughout, from the nose—which
is honeyed and sweet, also showcasing milk chocolate, peanuts, candy apple, maple
syrup, and a whiff of licorice—to the palate and finish. Overall, this serves as a great
example of the importance of texture in whiskey; the mouthfeel is oleaginous and
almost fatty, gliding over the palate and shedding flavors of chocolate-covered cherry,
white pepper, gingerbread, and roasted walnuts. The finish is zingy with ginger, white
pepper, and tingling peppermint, buttressed by bittersweet mocha, cherry, and dark
A complex nose that starts out herbaceous and then opens to notes of saddle leather, buttered popcorn, pecans, dark cherry, orange tea, and fragrant vanilla. A rich, chewy palate offers vanilla cream pie, lemon, blackberries, corn muffin, and chocolate-covered coconut, balanced against some drying oak, an herbal note, and dried leaves. The finish is a long, balanced ride of chocolate, cinnamon, and tobacco leaf. A rich, classic bourbon.
A blend of 9 to 14 year old bourbons from Tennessee and Kentucky. A generous and perfumy nose of dusty spice, peanut brittle, cherry candy, orange, cola, molasses, and roasted grain. Full and rich in the mouth, with fruit leather, blueberry-pomegranate juice, orange oil, ginger, pepper, dark chocolate, cola, molasses, and coconut. The finish is lengthy and superb: horehound candy, white pepper, dark chocolate-covered blueberries, and silky yet racy oak.
At 6 years old it’s hard to believe this could get any better with more time in the barrel. It begins with an explosion of honey, warm graham crackers, cinnamon, nutmeg, and marzipan. Then it’s saddle leather, pumice, caramel-covered popcorn, and jalapeño-and-peach jam spread over a flat tamale. More baking spices develop as the whiskey finishes long with a lovely salted-caramel note.
There’s personality galore in this blend of 10 year old Indiana whiskey finished in cabernet sauvignon casks and 11 year old Tennessee bourbon finished in rum casks and port pipes. Caramel, honeycomb candy, See’s molasses chips, peanuts, graham crackers, cola, mature oak, and a little dill on the nose. The palate is chewy, with dried cherries, grape soda, root beer candy, roasted walnuts, dark chocolate, black pepper, ginger, graham cracker, cinnamon cookie, and lush leathery oak. Good development, if you have the patience to linger.
It opens with a crust of salt and Flintstones vitamins in honey, almond paste, and caramel. Then pumice, pear, canned peaches, and baked apples jump into the mix, followed by Nutella, Cheerios, candied pecans, and chocolate. As the medium to long finish sets in, slight hints of smoke appear and suggest it would pair great with a bold cigar. A drop of water only makes it better.
With smoke and oak, this starts off so intense with pepper spices, peat, dried apricot, hard candies, caramel-covered apples, salted butter, pecan shell, and strawberry jam. Leather, tobacco, and baking spices begin the descent toward a medium, slightly bitter finish. If you like trying new things, this is an American cadre of flavors unlike anything out there. (Bottled on February 12, 2018)
Barrell 11 year old American Whiskey (Batch 004), 60.3%
Miscellaneous | $65
A blend of whiskeys finished in rum and rye barrels, it’s molasses-forward with quick introductions of clove, vanilla, flowers, and strawberry. Green apple and ginger cookies appear before a burst of caramel chew, herbs, and chewing tobacco. At times fascinating for its rye, bourbon, and rum qualities, albeit a little hot, it’s a must-pour for a spirits lover.
Think of an Almond Joy candy bar: coconut, almond, and milk chocolate, followed by the candy bar’s rival flavors: caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch. Then oak, leather, cigar box, marmalade, grape jelly, a plethora of baking spices, and toffee. This beautiful study of barrel strength bourbon needs no water. Caramel in all forms, from candied to syrup, follows this home for a long and delightful finish.
From the minds at Barrell Craft Spirits. The nose is fruity, with notes of mixed-berry preserves, cherries, blackberries, and Smarties, with additional dessert-like aromas of tiramisu and milk chocolate-covered caramel. A velvety mouthfeel showcases more caramel, plus orange and berry flavors, while also providing a good deal of spice that carries over to a slightly underwhelming finish. Enough complexity and proof to handle water well.
A selection of bourbons distilled and aged in Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky. Drying autumn leaves on the nose, along with leather, tobacco leaf, ginger snaps, cherries, nutmeg, black tea, vanilla, toasted coconut, and light orange. The mouthfeel is rich, and leads with coconut and unsalted butter, then cinnamon, cloves, red apple, oak, and more orange. Minerality, peppery heat, and tobacco on the finish, as well as dark chocolate and cherry.
A blend of straight bourbons at least 15 years old. A fragrant, complex nose of oak, baking spice, cherry pie, cooked pears, and bitter lemon, with underlying notes of cigar box and dunnage house floor. The palate is creamy and sweet, offering caramel, chocolate frosting, coconut shavings, a fruity note of sweet raspberry, and chili pepper. A finish of tobacco leaf, dark chocolate, and more spiciness as a final note.
A composite of Tennessee and Kentucky whiskeys, finished in sherry butts and port pipes. It’s sherry-forward, but rich and layered in roasted nuts, caramel, dried caramel, vanilla cake batter, chocolate, chamomile, and roasted apple. Marzipan and honey flash with hints of hazelnut, pear, and molasses cookie over a slightly chewy mouthfeel. The medium to long finish gives a slight hint of citrus.
Quince, coconut, raspberry, and chocolate walk into an array of breads—sourdough, cornbread, Lebanese pita, and pumpernickel rye. Soon a sweetness develops over earthiness. Think hazelnut latte paired with rich lentil soup, followed by jalapeño cornbread and honey. Its strength never shows, but that promise in the taste is not followed in the finish, which is shorter than expected. If the finish held up, it would be a much stronger whiskey.