So here's the thing... normally when I pen a review, I have the opportunity to delve deep and examine what I'm critiquing. Today, however, didn't go as planned. When Barrell Craft Spirits sent me a sample of Barrell Rye Batch 003, the nice folks at FedEx misread the big red label that said FRAGILE.
The good news? Two of the three samples arrived intact. The third, the one that contained Batch 003, was nearly drained. But, there was, thankfully enough left to taste and judge. Regardless, I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for sending me the sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. The breakage wasn't their fault, and, in fact, if these weren't bundled in layer upon layer of bubble wrap, things could have been worse.
Batch 003 has an interesting composition. It is a blend of four- to fourteen-year straight rye whiskeys sourced from Indiana (MGP), Tennessee (Dickel), Canada, and, of all places, Poland. The only one that Barrell discloses for age is the 13-year Canadian. Were I to take a wild guess, I'd say the Polish one is the oldest. But, that's just a gut feeling. Because the youngest whiskey is four years old, that's the age statement the bottle carries. Like everything else from Barrell, this one is barrel proof and weighs in at a healthy 116.7°. Retail is $79.99 for a 750ml.
And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Batch 003 introduced itself as rather orangish in color, pretty much a classic amber. It left a thin rim on the wall that created fat, heavy legs that fell back to the pool.
Nose: Aromas of corn and nuts started things off. That was followed by caramel, dark cherries, melon, and, finally, a delicate oak. There was no blunt trauma of ethanol despite my being prepared for it. When I inhaled through my mouth, thick, cherry jam raced across my tongue.
Palate: The mouthfeel offered a medium body and the whiskey coated everywhere. At the front of my palate, I tasted toasted coconut and caramel. As it worked its way across, cinnamon, brown sugar, and molasses each took a turn. Then, on the back, I found cumin and orange zest.
Finish: Medium in length and very, very dry, the finish consisted of tobacco leaf, rye spice, toasted oak, and both very late and unexpected, raspberry.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Generally-speaking, I'm always suspect of Canadian Rye. As the rules are fast and loose, you never quite know what to expect. I've experienced Polish Rye and have been pleased. The MGP and Dickel components were unidentifiable, which was neither good nor bad. It was just an observation. Getting past all of that hoopla, I thought Batch 003 was very well-balanced and the only thing I didn't like about it was that a majority of my sample was lost in shipment. This was delicious. It isn't overly expensive, and I'm happy to hand over my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It