By Father John Rayls
Barrell Craft Spirits is a non-distiller producer (NDP), which is what we like to call independent bottlers in America, that offers cask-strength expressions of (mostly) American whiskeys. Rather than focusing on producing a consistent line of products, BCS has chosen the route of limited edition-style uniqueness, with every batch being a thing in and of itself. The founder, Joe Beatrice, is now expanding operations in Louisville, Kentucky and developing his own distilling, barreling and aging facilities there.
My bottle number of 2756 was from Batch 013, which was blended from 5 year old Indiana- and 5 and 8 year old high-rye, Tennessee-made bourbons. That blend came out at 113 proof.
The look was copper, with light brown mixed equally. As the sun reflected through the bourbon, there were flashes of polished brass highlights. The legs in the glass were very thin and runny. In addition, this was coupled with a beading ring around the glass with droplets held in suspension.
The nose was a light to medium presence with oak and caramel. There wasn’t any alcohol burn, but there was a noticeable tingling when inhaling deeply.
The taste profile comes across as mild and made for a fairly short tasting experience. There is a slightly creamy mouthfeel, with oak and caramel on top of light cinnamon. The action takes place at mid-mouth stimulating both upper and lower sections. There is also some light heat in the background.
However, the finish kicks in with an announcement of authority. The initial taste almost lulls you to sleep, but it sets you up for the dramatic finish as it jumps in pretty quickly. It’s a long experience and spreads to involve the entire mouth out to the lips and down the back of the throat while elevating its game at mid-mouth. The oak and caramel continue but the cinnamon transitions to pepper and eventually to white pepper as the heat continues to build. It is never overwhelming, but is definitely an attention grabber and makes the overall tasting experience quite pleasant.
Barrell Bourbon (Batch 013) Cask Strength is one more perfect example demonstrating that sourced whiskey can be very good when handled correctly. This is an interesting sipping bourbon. However, I believe it would also make an excellent mixer for drinks even for those of us who hate making cocktails. It’s good enough in that role, in fact, to make me want to reconsider investing in being a mixologist.
The suggested retail is $79.99.