Some folks get hung up on single barrels, single malts, etc. I make it a point at any of my tasting events for my guests to keep an open mind - the whole #DrinkCurious philosophy is pushed hard. Single barrels and single malts can be awesome, but blending is a learned skill and unless you're very, very lucky, you don't just mix things together and wind up with a good finished product. Play around with an infinity bottle - you'll understand that many great whiskeys blended together do not necessarily make for a good blend. Believe me, I know. I've dumped my own attempts at infinity bottles down the drain because they were just horrific.
Today I'm sipping on Batch 28 Bourbon from Barrell Craft Spirits. If you're unfamiliar with Barrell, they aren't distillers, they're blenders. They're also, for the most part, at the top tier of American blenders. I won't say that I've loved everything Barrell has put out, but I will say that I've enjoyed most of it. A good example of Bottle and Bust ratings for Barrell can be found on my review of their Private Release Series. The nice thing about Barrell, good or bad, is that everything is bottled at barrel-proof. They dilute nothing.
Batch 28 is a blend of 10- and 11-year Bourbons distilled in Indiana (MGP), Kentucky, and Tennessee (George Dickel). I've stopped trying to nail down who Barrell sources their Kentucky components from. The proof is 108.86° and the suggested retail price is $90.00. Per the youngest whiskey in the blend, it carries a 10-year age statement.
I'd like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing a sample of Batch 28 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's get to it.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Batch 28 presented as a hazy orange amber. It offered a medium rim, but husky, slow legs that dropped back to the pool while leaving sticky droplets behind.
Nose: Batch 28 was fragrant before I pulled the glass anywhere near my face. A fruitful bouquet of orange zest, apricot, peach, and cherry started things off. They were joined by honey, oak, and a mineral quality that spoke Dickel. When I drew the vapor into my mouth, I could swear a Dreamsicle caressed my tongue.
Palate: I found the mouthfeel to be extremely oily and coated everywhere. As the liquid hit the front of my palate, flavors of orange citrus, cherry, apricot, and strawberry required no effort to discern. At the middle, I tasted a marriage of smoked vanilla and salted caramel. The back featured oak, walnut, orange peel, and clove.
Finish: Long and warming (but not hot), the finish seemed like a blending of Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, smoked oak, black pepper, and a dash of brine.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I loved the orchard of fruit on the nose and palate. The mouthfeel was deliciously oily. There was no Flintstone vitamin quality that can come from Dickel-sourced whiskeys. The finish reminiscent of two great liqueurs was a nice touch and unexpected. I believe Barrell has another winner with Batch 28, and I'm happy to tender my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It