By Kurt Maitland
I came across this bourbon by accident, during a stop at Tribeca’s Ward III for a single malt scotch. There I happened to bump into Joe Beatrice, the founder of Barrell Bourbon, who went on to offer me a taste of their first release – Batch 001.
Barrell is a bottler, but they are going about this in an interesting way. They look at themselves as curators, who are bringing out small batch releases that might not see the light of day. In this sense, they closely resemble their European counterparts. Their website displays their mashbill, and they clearly state that they do not distill their releases. Their intent is to have each batch be unique and not beholden to what came before. The challenge is to come up with new and interesting releases year after year.
For this, their initial release, the whiskey is from Tennessee, but has been aged and bottled in Kentucky. It has a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley, has been aged for five years, and bottled at 121.6 proof (60.8% abv).
Nose: Honeyed vanilla, spice
Taste: Barrell Bourbon is a rich and full bodied dram. Fruit notes and spice notes bubble through the oak and vanilla. Considering the proof, Barrell Bourbon is less spicy than you would think from the nose and is pretty even (not too dry or oily). With the addition of water, Barrell becomes a little sweeter and the spice note becomes more rye and cinnamon.
Finish: Smooth with a sweet almost candy-like finish.
This is a quality dram that won’t be out of place next to other upper echelon, premium-grade bourbons.
This release currently runs around $70 dollars US. You will probably change as Batch 001 gets closer to selling out since once it’s gone there will be no more.