Barrell Bourbon Batch 009

Barrell Bourbon
Batch 009
Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Cask Strength
Age 13 years
56.05% ABV (112.1 proof)
~$80 (sample provided)

Batch 010 was amazing, so now it's time to turn attention to Batch 009. According to Barrell, it was distilled and aged in Tennessee and Kentucky for 13 years. Mash bill is a relatively standard 74 corn/18 rye/12 malted barley - but no word on the extra 1% ;). That's a long time to age a bourbon, so definitely interested to see if this is an oak bomb.

Color: medium/dark brown with a ruddy tint.

Smell: very fresh, sweet, and fruity aroma. It's much more approachable - and even delicate - than I expected given the proof. I do get some barrel-driven cinnamon spice and vanilla, as well as a hint of furniture polish and peanuts, but overwhelmingly this is driven by whiffs of dark caramel and red fruit.

Taste: slight caramel sweetness (and muted fruitiness) on entry, then the barrel influence quickly arrives in the form of tingly cinnamon spice, roasted peanuts, and charred vanilla on the midpalate. The finish is big and chewy, with a slight hint of charred oak bitterness that I'm actually kind of digging.

Overall: this is unimpeachably solid bourbon that wears its age gracefully. The 13 years in oak mercifully haven't thrown the flavors off-balance - the slightly bitter oak backbone provides an interesting complement to the sweetness and fruitiness on the nose and entry. It lacks a bit of depth and interesting secondary/tertiary flavors, but that's just nit-picking. "A-" for me.