• Seth

Barrell Bourbon New Year 2021 Review

7 states worth of complexity in one delicious bottle.

Type: Bourbon whiskey

Distillery: Distilled in KY, TN, IN, NY, TX, WY and CO

Proof: 113.9

Age: 5 years - "A selection of 5, 9, 10, and 11-year-old straight bourbon whiskeys"

MSRP: $79.99


My first thought is there's a lot to identify here. I can pick out pink bubble gum, green apple and oak. Behind those notes I find tobacco and even a grape character. There is a hint of ethanol on the nose, but it's not at all overpowering. Rounding things out is a nice floral element.


This is a fun sip. It's deceptively sweet at first and packed with honey, then on comes a rush of spice. The spice presents to me as rye, clove and allspice with a little dry leather character on the backend. A healthy kick of oak is present throughout. It really coats your taste buds well when it first hits, but thins out towards the end.


This is a warm, medium length finish. For the first time there is a bit of corn, but the nice bubble gum note from the nose comes back as well.


As with all Barrell releases, there is a complexity to this bourbon that I really appreciate. That complexity is not surprising with this pour as there is distillate from 7 different states in this blend. It takes several sips, glasses or separate occasions to really pick out all the notes and the bourbon seems to take on different characteristics depending on the day. I'm a fan of this year's release of the New Year bourbon. The challenge with Barrell at this point isn't so much whether or not to grab a bottle, but rather which bottle do you pickup? I could swing back and forth between this and several of their recent Cask Strength batches depending on what I'm in the mood for. I've still yet to find a bad bottle in any of their offerings.

This bottle was provided at no cost by Barrell Craft Spirits. Thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.



Rating Scale:

This is a general guide of what I consider each score range

4.75 - 5.00: Phenomenal. Hard to imagine anything better. Acquire at any cost.

4.25 - 4.50: Excellent. I'll camp out to get a bottle if necessary.

3.75 - 4.00: Great stuff. I'll buy backups if not too expensive.

3.25 - 3.50: Good stuff. Try to keep one on the bar, but don't spend too much.

2.75 - 3.00: Not bad. I don't regret the purchase, but may not buy another.

2.25 - 2.50: Sub-par. I regret the purchase. Reserved for mixed drinks.

1.75 - 2.00: Bad. I'll struggle to finish the bottle. May not want it in cocktails.

0.00 - 1.50: Drain-pour. Something seems wrong with it. Get it away.