Last night I went to the BeastMaster’s Club holiday event where they poured all their single barrels from the year (well I started this write-up a few months ago… but actually this was almost two months since the event). As a special surprise, Will Schragis and his sales team from Barrell Bourbon, was pouring 12 different bottles of Barrell Craft Spirits products, including a super small Irish Whisky release, very cool! I really enjoyed trying each of the Beast Masters Club single barrels, especially the Smoke Wagon MPG juice. But the clear winner of the night wasn’t even close… it happened to be the one I liked the most that evening, but it was also the one that got drained halfway through the night. You usually know when something is good when it’s almost empty, when other bottles around it are 1/2 to 3/4 full… I ended up buying a bottle this morning so I could write up a review…
Barrell Bourbon Batch 022 is a blend of Kentucky and Indiana straight Bourbon whiskey, coming in at 116.6 proof and is age stated at five years. Don’t let the 5yr fool you though, I have it on good authority that although the youngest Bourbon is 5yrs, the majority of the juice is in the ten to twelve year area… few producers would risk mixing a 11yr or 12yr Bourbon with a 5yr because if you put “12yr Indiana from a undisclosed distillery located in Lawrenceburg” you are guaranteed to sell it for at least $100… what kind of person would take that and add younger juice in it? The only person who would do that is someone who knows it will be better and cares more about the final product than making a quick buck… well, lets go to the tasting and see if that holds up.
The color alone tells you there is no way this is just 5yrs, my guess is the average is like 8-9, with that dark golden amber… The nose is insane, rock candy, candy corn from Halloween, freshly baked corn bread out of a cast iron pan, marzipan, butterscotch syrup and Teddy Grahams. So little heat on the nose. Dive right in.
Perfectly balanced on the way in, really good mouthfeel… good oils, if there was one thing I’d like more of is I’d like a little more oilyness on it… The Kentucky hug shows up and builds on the candy nose. This is such a crowd-pleaser up front, but then the complexity and finish on the back end lets you know this is a contender for a Whiskey of the year.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’m a huge fan of Barrell Bourbon. Very few people put out both epic single barrels, but also amazing blends. It’s a skill that few producers have both of, and they nail it. This might be my favorite batch since Batch 011. As soon as I tried this again I put my order in for another case to bunker. This one is going to be a huge winner. And for those people out there who like Barrell but aren’t fans of Dickel, well, this is only IN/KY, be sure to grab a case or two… 97/100.
Post Script: I know Batch 021 won San Francisco best Bourbon of the year, but I prefer batch 022… super underrated! If you can’t find 21, grab a few 22s!