Barrell Bourbon Cask Strength Batch 017 Review
Complex and bold, but approachable. A classic cask strength bourbon with a fruit characteristic that won't be held down.
Type: Bourbon Whiskey
Distillery: Sourced from IN, TN and KY (crafted and bottled by Barrell Craft Spirits)
Age: 10 years 4 months (this is a blend of 10yr 4 month, 14yr and 15yr barrels)
Retail: $80-90 most places
For a specific breakdown of this batch, visit https://www.barrellbourbon.com/batch17
Much like batch 016, the appearance is similar to real, dark honey, of the farm-to-table variety, not the light gold mass produced stuff.
Right up front, there is a nice kick of fruit. It's not citrusy, more like sweet apples that have been soaking in a winter sangria. Allspice and a little clove come forward with the fruit. At the tail end, there are nice notes of syrup and honey. The alcohol is heavy right after the initial pour but dissipates quickly and allows you to really get deep into the glass after a minute or two.
As expected from the nose, I'm greeted with an explosion of fruity flavor. Here, it has a nice tart kick. I'm getting cherries, dried cranberries and even a little fig. Cinnamon, and vanilla extract come through, but even those have the fruit undertones. Behind the fruit, there are pastry notes and sweet bread. The oak is perfectly balanced and rounds everything out nicely. As with Barrell's other batches, there is a lot going on here, but it's expertly compiled into one cohesive profile. The mouthfeel has an oily smoothness and the proof is very approachable. Add water, throw in some ice or drink it neat, it holds up great any way you try it.
The finish is warm and lasts for quite a while. Rye makes an appearance but fades out to the more familiar orange zest. As with the palate, the spice is just right. It gives the kick that all great whiskeys have, but it isn't overly hot.
I think Barrell is hitting it out of the park with their wide variety of unique and inventive releases lately, but this Cask Strength Bourbon should not be overlooked. It's a great representation of a classic bourbon, yet it's unique with its fruit-forward palate.
It seems like ten new bourbon brands hit shelves every week right now, and it can be tough to figure out which of those bottles, if any, are worth trying. As price points climb, buyer's remorse has become an issue with a lot of these products. Well, this is not one of those products. This is one of the best bottles you'll find on the bourbon aisle. At cask strength, it's complexity and flavor profile blow away most standard offerings, yet it's not abrasive like some of the more basic full-proof options that you'll find. If you decide to pick up a bottle, I'm betting you won't regret it.
This bottle was provided at no cost by Barrell Craft Spirits. Thoughts and opinions are my own.