By Kurt Maitland
As described in our review of their prior release, Batch 001, Barrell is not a distillery. Instead, they are a bottler who look at themselves as curator, stewarding small batch releases that otherwise might not see the light of day, let alone the bottom of a Glencairn glass. In this respect, they are negociants in a similar spirit as the crafty Scots at Wemyss Malts.
This is their second release, and as was the case with its predecessor, the whiskey is from Tennessee, but has been aged and bottled in Kentucky. The mashbill is unchanged for the most part – 70% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley, and has been aged for five years. The most obvious change is that this release is bottled at 117.8 proof (58.9%) which is a little less than Batch #001’s 121.6 proof (60.8% abv).
Color: Toasted tobacco
Nose: Oak, Rich Vanilla with a hint of toasted pecan
Taste: As full as its predecessor, even with the slight decrease in ABV. While the mashbill is the same in both batches, the rye makes a bigger impression in this release. It’s as if the lower ABV allows the rye to breathe and burn a little hotter in this batch. The cinnamon note is still here but less present and paired up with a stronger, woodier and nuttier presence. The mouthfeel starts a little oily but the more dominant spice notes brings you to a drier end. Add a few drops of water takes away the initial oil driven smoothness of the beginning and spreads the (slightly) reduced sting of the rye across the whole experience.
Finish: This batch has a nice finish. It builds with the spicy rye note and ends with some of the nutty/oaky flavor hinted at in the nose.
At present all of Barrell’s releases are limited releases, so once they are gone, they’re gone. At $70 dollars US this is a bargain, but not for long as I don’t see this staying on the shelves that long.