Barrell Craft Spirits is located in Louisville, KY, and is another one of those Non-Distilling Producers (NDP) that get a lot of attention. It has won some hefty awards, including "Best Of" categories over the last few years. That's not bad for a brand that's been around since only 2012. It shows that founder Joe Beatrice isn't some Johnny-Come-Lately. He may not have formal distilling background, but as a blender and producer, he certainly has proven he knows what he's doing.
"Our goal is to select and blend products that explore different distillation methods, barrels, and aging environments, and bottle them at cask strength. Every batch is produced as a limited release, and has an intentionally distinct flavor profile." -- Joe Beatrice
Today I'm reviewing Barrell's Dovetail, which is its best-selling whiskey. It started off as a 10-year undisclosed Indiana-sourced whiskey (read: MGP) and an 11-year undisclosed Tennessee-sourced Bourbon (read: Dickel). No, I don't have proof those distilleries are the sources, but it also isn't rocket science to determine the sources. Those whiskeys were then finished in Dunn's Cabernet casks, late-vintage Port pipes, and Blackstrap Rum casks. According to Barrell, this process took a full year to perfect.
Non-chill filtered and bottled at 125.24°, a 750ml bottle will set you back in the neighborhood of $79.99. I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample in exchange for an honest, no-strings-attached review. Now it is time to #DrinkCurious and get on with it.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Dovetail presented as copper in color. It could be a smidge lighter than that. It created a thin rim that generated medium-thick legs that slowly worked its way back to the pool.
Nose: Brown sugar and butterscotch raced out the gate. That was soon overcome by banana and cherry. Oak and oiled leather rounded things out. When I inhaled through my mouth, it was all butterscotch.
Palate: A thick and viscous wave crossed my lips and rolled over my palate. It began with thick caramel, oak, and cocoa on the front. As it moved mid-palate, that transformed to cherry, plum, and cola. On the back was a blend of black pepper and dark chocolate.
Finish: A long, warm finish of brown sugar, molasses, old oak, nuts, and clove kept things entertaining and almost mesmerizing.
Because this was barrel-proof, I was curious about what would happen if I added two drops of distilled water.
Nose: Brown sugar and honey were the dominant aromas. But, they were joined by banana, nuts, and caramel. When I inhaled through my lips, a thicker, vanilla cream danced on my tongue.
Palate: I found the mouthfeel to be thick and creamy. It was also a total cherry bomb! I had a rough time getting past the cherry to pick up chocolate, caramel, cocoa, and Dr. Pepper (sweet with the flavor of caramel and prunes).
Finish: It was shorter than when drank neat, but was comprised of dry oak, black pepper, and caramel.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is where the pedal hits the metal. I found this complex at barrel-proof, and slightly less-so with water added. If there is something wrong with this blend, I'll be a monkey's uncle. I enjoyed every bit of it. There was no Flintstone's vitamin from the Dickel portion (that's a good thing). For $79 you're getting a barrel proof, 10-year whiskey and that's not blinkworthy. As such, this one snags a Bottle rating from me. I'd buy this one all day long. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It