By Elizabeth Emmons
Updated July 28, 2015
Barrelhound is one of the newest additions to the Chivas Brothers Limited (a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard) portfolio. The brand was released in May 2015, and as of yet there is currently one whisky produced under the name.
The name Barrelhound, along with the playful logo of a strapping Scottish terrier holding up a barrel of whisky, touts the brand as one whose discerning customers will not settle for less than the best whisky. The terrier has, as the name suggests, perhaps sniffed out the best single malts that Pernod owns (aka “the best barking whisky,” according to the website). So, the malts are sourced from Pernod Ricard’s Speyside distilleries, and in the true spirit of a “barrelhound,” I sniffed out those brands: Aberlour, The Glenlivet, and Longmorn.
Barrelhound is a non-age statement single malt blend which is then matured in American Oak barrels. The whiskey is distilled, matured and bottled in Scotland and is made for the U.S. market — “bound for the U.S.A.” Barrelhound is currently only available in New York and Washington DC.
Barrelhound aims to embody the medium between a Scotch, balancing the stereotypical spiciness of a Scotch with the sweetness of a bourbon, thus the website touts it as a whisky with a “smoother, sweeter, Bourbon-like finish.” The whisky is bottled at 40% abv (80 proof).
Barrelhound is not very forward when sniffed, but there are spicy tones with elements of vanilla.
It is a true golden color and its legs in the glass are noticeable. When tasted, a muted sweetness envelopes the mouth and flavors become slightly spicy and oaky. The taste circles back to a soft vanilla sweetness. The finish is light and fruity with a dryness on the very tail end. Mouthfeel is medium on the oily scale.
I can see why Pernod puts some emphasis on this for cocktails on their website, as it would blend well with almost anything, being that it does hang back a bit and not scream and shout out its flavors. That is not meant to be a negative statement, as it is still quite tasty. It is extremely easy to drink, alone or even with a meal and at most times of the day. This would be a great whiskey for someone who is putting their toes in the water.
The price-point is another notable factor, as at $29.99 this is a good buy.