Barrell Craft Spirits Batch 036 Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes


Blending is an art form. A good artist has the desired masterpiece in mind. The challenge is how to get there. In blending, it takes a dash of this, a dab of that, and an eye of newt (okay maybe not that last one). The long and short of it is that unless you rely on dumb luck, mixing stuff randomly usually turns out awful. It is why I abandoned my infinity bottle project several years ago; I took excellent whiskeys and made something that made my left eye twitch.


One American blender that has earned my respect is Barrell Craft Spirits. Based in Louisville, Barrell has been at it for over a decade and has won its fair share of awards (including some from me). Almost every release is at cask strength (last year, it released Foundation, which was not); Barrell wants to leave the proofing adventure to each individual’s preference.


Barrell also doesn’t mind taking out much of the mystery behind its blends.


“Since our founding, we’ve intentionally sold our whiskey as transparently as possible. Our new batch label, which debuts on Barrell Bourbon Batch 036, goes one step further toward giving whiskey lovers the blending and mash bill information they crave about what’s in their glass in a more convenient format that’s easy to find.”Joe Beatrice, Founder, Barrell Craft Spirits


Batch 036 is a blend of straight Bourbons: a 9-year from Kentucky, then 7.5-, 8- and 10-year whiskeys from Indiana (MGP), and finally 8- and 15-years from Tennessee (Dickel). The result is a mashbill of 79% corn, 16% malted rye, and 5% malted barley. Packaged at 57.22% ABV (114.44°), a 750ml carries a suggested price of $89.99.


This #DrinkCurious moment would not be possible without Barrell Craft Spirits providing me with a sample. And now, it is time for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Bourbon into my Glencairn glass to experience neat. Inside, it presented as a deep caramel color. It formed a thick rim and wide, syrupy legs.


Nose: I smelled orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, plums, and pipe tobacco. I encountered oranges and vanilla when I inhaled through my lips.


Palate: Batch 036’s texture was dense. On the front, I tasted vanilla, brown sugar, and cocoa. Midway through, there were black grapes, tobacco leaves, and cinnamon spice. The back featured leather, charred oak, and black pepper.


Finish: The long-lasting finish included notes of leather, tobacco leaf, barrel char, molasses, cocoa, and cinnamon Red Hots.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: After I jotted down my notes, I took the bottle and my glass, accompanied my dog outside in the backyard, and sat under the shade of our arborvide tree. It was a gorgeous day, and I could think of no better way to enjoy this Bourbon than to spend it outside with Whiskeyfellow’s Chief Food Tasting and Security Officer.


The Bourbon was well-balanced and full of flavor. It also drank far below its stated proof. I loved the mouthfeel. Each batch of Barrell, whether Bourbon or Rye, seems to improve upon the previous. I loved Batch 035. Let’s just say I enjoyed Batch 036 a smidge more. It provides zero regrets and is something to savor (with or without others). This is a solid pour for the money and wins my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.