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94 points

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 025), 56.7%,

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 025) bottle. This basks in beautiful baking spices—clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon—with toasty oak and candle wax hinting at its maturity. The palate is wonderfully dense with fruit, including flavors of marmalade, strawberry jam, and bright tropical fruits, woven with more spice. Even with water the richness and viscosity stand tall, as more caramel and butterscotch emerge. The spellbinding finish is long, sweet, and nutty. Editors' Choice

Reviewed by: (Winter 2020)

94 points

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 029), 57.94%

Initially soft and reticent on the nose, with water revealing the sweet maltiness of a vanilla shake, as well as buttered toast, almonds, and melon. A smooth creamy palate shows honey, blueberry pie, and vanilla ice cream. Baking spice and more pie notes emerge, along with toasted walnuts, bitter coffee, chocolate, and a finish of cinnamon-sprinkled vanilla custard and baking spice. A hot one, even with water, but loaded with well-integrated flavors.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)

94 points

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 021), 53.17%

Sweet and toasty aromas, like a coconut macaroon, are balanced with bright green apple in this showstopper of a bourbon. Secondary notes include alluring five-spice, cigar box, and dark cherry fruit. The flavors really fulfill expectations, as toasty notes of brown butter meet delicate spice, candied peanuts, and grilled peaches. But wait for the finish! A cascade of gingery and peppery spices, grilled peaches, and pecan descend in perfect harmony. A multifaceted bourbon that is as intriguing as it is delicious. Editors' Choice

Reviewed by: (Winter 2019)

94 points

Barrell Private Release Tokaji Cask-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Batch No. AH02), 60.71%

The sweet vanilla, almond, and coconut aromas don’t prepare you for the chocolaty richness of the palate, but don’t stress; just enjoy the journey. It starts with Almond Joy, crème brûlée with fresh blackberries, nougat, and marzipan, then progresses to cacao nibs, dried cranberries and cherries, and a striking amaretto flavor. Everything wraps up neatly—and lengthily—with cocoa powder, black pepper, mocha, and roasted walnuts. Don’t be shy about watering generously; this can quite a bit.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

94 points

Barrell Private Release Ruby Port Cask-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Batch No. AH10), 60.26%

Brownie batter, toasted almonds, maple syrup, orange peel, ginger, raspberries, and strawberries on the nose, with a touch of iced tea. The palate is oily and rich with fruit, especially after water is added; orange marmalade and cherry soda mingle with semi-sweet chocolate and chicory coffee. Chicory, mocha, polished oak, and cocoa powder on the finish. Add water for more prominent fruit notes without losing the rich character or stellar balance.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

94 points

Barrell Private Release Malmsey Madeira Cask-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Batch No. AH08), 59.45%

A sweet and enticing nose of marzipan, crème anglaise, blueberry compote, cooked cherry, brown sugar, baking spice, and vanilla bean. The palate showcases rich chocolate, with heaps of dark and cooked fruit: blackberry and blueberry preserves, Luxardo cherries, as well as cinnamon, dried ginger, allspice, and roasted walnuts—everything seamlessly interwoven. Lengthy on the finish, with mocha, dark chocolate, polished oak, and white pepper.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

93 points

Barrell 4 year old Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Ryes (Batch 003), 58.35%

There’s much to discover in the depths of this glass, which continues to develop over time. Dark fruit, tobacco, orange pekoe tea, white pepper, leather, dry-roasted peanuts, and varnish unfold on the nose, while the palate is fruity with blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and orange; it also has dry oak, nuts, tobacco, and a lot of black pepper spice. The finish is leathery and peppery, with cigar and persistent dark berry flavors. A dense, decadent whiskey that makes it all seem effortless. (12,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

93 points

Barrell 25 year old Cask-Strength American Whiskey, 55.6%

Some whiskeys have already peaked at a quarter-century, but this one, distilled in Indiana and finished in sercial madeira casks, is at its apex. Caramel-covered peanuts, candied orange, fresh-baked bread, Toblerone, cinnamon ginger snaps, blueberry cobbler, black tea, and plenty of oak on the nose. The palate is supple and elegant, with peanut brittle, cherry cordial, milk chocolate, blueberry, horehound candy, cola, white pepper, ginger, roasted pecans, and refined oak. Leave plenty of time to enjoy the finish, with its subtle white pepper and dark fruit undertones.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2019)

93 points

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 027), 57.85%

barrell bourbon batch 027 Pleasant aromas of confectionery store on the nose—candy apples, milk chocolate, grape jelly, and candied coconut—as well as some fresh red fruit notes. Agreeably smooth on the palate, with balanced sweet flavors of chocolate-covered raspberries, candied almonds, cinnamon spice, and coffee. A rich finish offers mint, dark chocolate, drizzled caramel, espresso beans, and cinnamon. A crescendo of fresh red fruit completes a pleasant tasting journey through this well-structured whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Barrell 15 year old Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (2020 Release), 52.45%

Peanuts, corn muffin, blueberry pancakes, well-integrated spice, grape soda, maple syrup, and orange peel on the nose. Chewy and rich with dark chocolate on the palate, studded with dried blueberries and cherries, Spanish peanuts, and dark mocha flavors; water brings out rancio notes but stays on trend with the fancy trail mix profile. Very lengthy mocha, cacao nib, polished oak, and roasted peanuts on the finish.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2021)

93 points

Barrell Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 024), 56.95%

A blend of straight bourbons from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, aged 9 to 15 years. Wild herbs, dried apricots, and red fruits punctuate the nose, while the palate is smooth but complex, offering spice and refined sweetness, along with notes of tobacco leaf, graphite, semi-sweet chocolate, and dried red fruit. The finish is lengthy, led by dark berry flavors and followed by undernotes of chocolate, toasted almonds, and baking spice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2020)

93 points

Barrell New Year Blend of Straight Bourbons (2021 Edition), 56.95%

barrell new year 2021 bottle Peanut lovers, pour yourself a glass of this: It’s multi-dimensional where legumes are concerned. Peanut shells, spiced peanuts, dry-roasted peanuts—they’re all here, interspersed with fresh mint, cinnamon, iced tea, and tobacco barn. There are tingly spices—black pepper and dried chiles—on the palate, along with black tea and peppermint. The mouthwatering finish is generously oaky, with persistent spice and nuts.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2020)

93 points

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 026), 56.32%

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 026). A rich and fragrant nose of mince pie, baking spices, figs, cherry pie, sweetened ice tea, candle wax, and an earthy note of warehouse floor. The palate is dense and chewy, with rich flavors of chocolate-covered raspberries, cooked cherries, honeyed almonds, licorice, and black tea. Water unlocks more fruit notes, spice, and a hint of café au lait. The finish is lengthy, offering dark chocolate, allspice, licorice, and balanced oak.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2021)

92 points

Barrell Whiskey (Batch 001), 61.25%

7 year old whiskey (an unspecified “corn, rye, and malted barley” mashbill “distilled in Indiana”) aged in used barrels. Maple syrup, well-browned popovers, and Canada mint lozenges in a boozy-hot nose. Richly sweet on the palate: pastry dough, hints of anise, buttery and slightly-burnt cornbread, syrupy dark fruits: complex, rich, delicious. Water brings out more of the dough and tames the heat. Delicious, unique, intriguing. Sourced whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2015)

92 points

Barrell Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Bourbons (Batch 023), 53.89%

This is heaped with toasty oak, notes of wood shavings, and nutty-sweet butter pecan ice cream. There’s a touch of herbal antiseptic and tarragon, but it’s kept in check, letting the caramel sweetness and baked marshmallow permeate the palate. Water unleashes dark cherry and candied peanuts. A really well-balanced whiskey, with sweetness, spice, and fruit working in harmony.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2020)

92 points

Barrell Private Release Hermann J. Wiemer Noble Select Josef Vineyard Riesling Barrel-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Blend No. CH37), 57.11%

 Barrell Private Release Hermann J. Wiemer Noble Select Josef Vineyard Riesling Barrel-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Blend No. CH37) bottle. A curious character of tart fruit pervades this whiskey with an unusual finishing cask, starting with underripe blackberries on the nose; there’s also citrus, vanilla, jasmine, orange blossom, almonds in the shell, and a scattering of dried herbs. Tart and citric on the palate—lemon juice, underripe berries, Granny Smith apples, red plums—yet a dark richness of coffee bean, bitter chocolate, and oak offer a pleasing juxtaposition. The lengthy finish retains the interplay of tart fruit and richness until the final exhale.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2020)

92 points

Barrell Private Release St. Agrestis Brooklyn Amaro Cask-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Blend No. CH24), 56.95%

Barrell Private Release St. Agrestis Brooklyn Amaro Cask-Finished Kentucky Whiskey (Blend No. CH24) bottle. The reticent nose reveals little at first, but eventually a few aromas emerge: vanilla, licorice tea, furniture polish, and a slightly tart note, like gooseberry or kumquat. That’s borne out with the palate’s tart and citric character, showcasing plum, pear, lemon, gooseberry, and kumquat, with an herbal tinge, toasted oak, and a hint of almond. The finish is mouthwatering—almost mouth-puckering—and continues the tart fruit theme. This is an odd but intriguing whiskey, showing great consistency and novelty.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2020)

92 points

Barrell Cask Strength Blend of Straight (Batch 028), 54.43%

barrell bourbon batch 028 Richly layered aromas of honeycomb, varnish, cola, licorice, and earth pour forth, with nicely balanced cedary oak and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. On the velvety palate there is a bounty of delicious orchard fruits—Golden Delicious apple and ripe peach—underscored by beeswax candle and furniture polish that suggest some older whiskey in the mix. On the finish, licorice and earth rise above lip-smacking citrusy sweetness.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2021)