Barrell Craft Spirits is one of the more consistently excellent blenders around. That’s not to suggest it is perfect at what it does. Still, if you were going to take a chance and risk purchasing a bottle without knowing anything about it, you’d likely be on the winning side of that bet. I’ve had many pours from this brand, and I can count on one hand how many were not top-notch and have fingers left over.
While blending isn’t simple, Barrell makes things less complicated. It is located in Louisville and sources from distilleries around the country. Everything it produces is barrel-proof. If you think something is too strong, you change things by adding water. That’s on you; Barrell won’t do that on your behalf.
Batch 034 is a Bourbon that carries a six-year age statement. That’s the youngest whiskey in the batch. The oldest is 15 years, and there are also eight and ten-year Bourbons. Barrell sourced these Bourbons distilled from Indiana (MGP), Tennessee (George Dickel), and Kentucky (Jim Beam). The eight year had a high-corn mash and provided cherry, apricot, and hazelnut flavors. Six-year-old high-rye barrels possessing cinnamon and allspice notes were added to the blend and allowed to rest for several months. The ten- and 15-year barrels were chosen for earthy, tannin qualities and were vatted with the others, forming the final recipe.
It weighs in at 114.62° and carries an MSRP of $90.00. Typically, Barrell whiskeys are easy to find at local liquor stores, no matter where you are.
Before I go further, I must thank Barrell Craft Spirits for providing me a sample of Batch 034 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: I observed this Bourbon neat in my Glencairn glass. An orange-reddish amber produced a fragile rim that disintegrated as it released all its tears at once.
Nose: Dried apricot, plum, cherry, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oak were easy to discern, even at the first whiff. When I continued sniffing, I found vanilla and orange zest. As I inhaled the vapor through my lips, there was a distinct sensation of rose petals.
Palate: Wow, the mouthfeel on this was thick and creamy! The more I sipped, the thicker it became, almost like syrup. Vanilla cream, nutmeg, and orange peel hit the front of my palate. Midway through, I tasted what I swore was Mr. Pibb, full of spicy cherry and plum notes. The back featured flavors of peanuts, cocoa, and dry oak.
Finish: Limp Bizkit recorded a song called Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle). The repetitive chorus goes Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, and that’s a pretty good description of this whiskey’s duration after the swallow. Cherry-vanilla cola, peanut, and dry oak are what remained.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: You’d think with all the ABV this Bourbon has, it would bring on the heat. Nope. There was a warming quality, but it went down easy. Of all the Barrell Bourbons I’ve had, this drank so far below its stated proof that I had to recheck the label. And, like pretty much every Tennessee-sourced barrel that Barrell selects, there was a total lack of Dickel’s classic Flintstone vitamin, chalky taste.
I couldn’t get enough of this Bourbon’s texture. It kept me returning repeatedly, and when I consider how easy those sips are, Batch 034 falls into that dangerous category. I believe this may be my favorite “standard” batch of Barrell Bourbon I’ve had to date, including Batch 032, which I was in love with. So, yes, Batch 034 earns every bit of my Bottle rating. If I had $90.00 burning a hole in my pocket, this is what I would select to spend it on. 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 do so responsibly.