husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Barrell Bourbon - Batch One

Barrell Bourbon...side pocket...
For many whisky lovers, the more proof the better!

I am no exception to this pseudo-rule.  For me it is about flexibility.  If I happen to dig a whisky at 55% and my buddy wants it closer to 45% ABV, we can both drink from the same bottle and be happy simply by adding water.

Now, that being said, there have been some lovely delicate Scotches in my life that I felt were perfect as-is in a low ABV, and vice versa, but again it is about flexibility for me.

I like having the option.  If it’s chilly in the winter and I need to create some ‘central heating’ in my belly, Cask Strength whisky is perfect. On the other hand, if I am working the grill in the dead of summer, sometimes I reach for a Cask Strength bourbon because I know it can stand up to the ice I want to dump in it!

This brings me to a new bottle that has popped up on the East Coast!

Barrell Bourbon is described on their website as ‘Small Batch, craft distilled bourbon bottled straight from the cask.  Every bottle of Barrell Bourbon is brought to you at full, unfiltered barrel strength…’

True to form, not only is this baby coming in at a humming 60+% ABV, there are actual little bits of cask/char in there!  I’m loving that!

While it appears the company is in its infancy (this is Batch #1) the website looks pretty slick, and there are some cool details on there for this first batch.

Per the website:

-Mashbill:  70% Corn, 25% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

-Distilled in Tennessee

-Aged in Kentucky

-Bottled at 121.6 proof

-Aged for 5 years in charred white oak barrels

At the end of the day, we all want to know…How does it taste?

NEAT:

Appearance:  Golden Amber, genuine flecks of true barrel sediment, big/fat/slow legs

Nose:  Vanilla Pods, Dark Cherries, Woody Caramel, Every Note is Big and Bold

Palate:  Rich and Thick mouthfeel, Cinnamon Apple Sauce, Caramelized Sugars, Vanilla & Nutmeg Cookies

Finish:  Lovely Char note, slight Rye spice kick, Long and Warming

WITH A FEW DROPS OF WATER:

Appearance:  Same as above

Nose:  Opens up to clear Vanilla (extract), Baked Cherry Pie, Rye is more exposed with a slight Pencil Shavings & Pine (in a good way)

Palate:  Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce, Oily and Luscious, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, Clove & Maple Sugar

Finish:  Powerful and Lovely, Cinnamon & Oak, Salted Caramel, Long and Warming

OVERALL:

This 5-year Old Straight Bourbon at Cask Strength this is one smooth sipper!  I was pleasantly surprised by this.  I’d put this somewhere in the realm of the Booker’s of the world in terms of proof & pricing.  Booker’s has a little more aged-depth and robustness to it on the palate, but I prefer this nose a little better as Booker’s nose is always tight for me...I just got a better read off this one.  The palate on this Batch 1 was more like a high-powered Bulliet.  Think of it as Bulliet on PED’s.  Hey, either way, for a first effort to even be mentioned with the likes of Booker’s & Bulliet is something to take pride in!  I’m sure the connoisseurs of the world may gravitate towards it due to the limited batch run as well (per the gentleman I spoke with, looks like a range of 2,000-4,000 bottles at most).  That makes it a bit more ‘special’ or ‘appealing’ for the sake of exclusivity or being collectible.  I’d like to know more about the back story of all of this, but perhaps that is a future write-up.  All in all, I’m happy with my purchase, glad I took a risk on it, and am willing to give Batch #2 a chance whenever that comes out.    Score:  89/100
 
**Follow Up Note:  Honored to have my notes featured on their webpage!**

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