Barrell Bourbon Batch 010

Barrell Bourbon
Batch # 010
Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Cask Strength
Age 8 Years
61% ABV (122 proof)
$90-100? (guessing based on previous releases - sample provided)

Very excited to dig in with Barrell's new "Batch 010." As far as I can tell, Barrell doesn't have the details up on their website. I previously reviewed their Batch 008 Bourbon and Batch 003 Whiskey, both of which were very solid. On the back label, it says "distilled in Indiana," so given the age statement I'm guessing they sourced this from MGP.

Color: burnt orange

Smell: this smells delicious. Brown butter, dark caramel, slightly herbal/minty, and smooth - you'd never guess the proof from the nose. There's a little bit of cinnamon and vanilla spice, but not much overt oakiness. Very vibrant and fresh-smelling, if that makes any sense.

Taste: very solid. This is as smooth-sipping as any bourbon I've had, and there is no need for water. It's quite restrained on entry, with mild creamy caramel sweetness and the slight herbal/minty tinge from the nose. But then things come alive big time on the midpalate with an oaky tingling that ushers in a huge rush of very cohesive barrel-driven flavors. I get loads of vanilla bean and cinnamon spice, along with roasted peanuts and tobacco on a long, oily finish.

Overall: this is unimpeachably great bourbon - easy "A." Remarkably smooth for 60% ABV at cask strength, but packing plenty of interesting flavor, particularly on the midpalate and finish. I don't know how Barrell scored this allotment (or if they've been sitting on it for a while now), but this is legitimately one of the best bourbons I've had all year. As far as analogs go, this is a "finesse" bourbon in the style of most Four Roses LE bottlings as opposed to a "power" bourbon like Booker's or George T. Stagg. In my opinion, this distinction is driven by the degree of oak influence: "power" bourbons are extremely tannic, bitter, and woody (not necessarily a knock- some are wonderful), whereas "finesse" bourbons have less overt woodiness and generally present as fruitier, softer, and more rounded. I gravitate toward the latter, though I try to appreciate all comers!