Barrell Bourbon(batch 8b)


Intro:  From the Barrell website:

At Barrell Craft Spirits, our goal is to blend great tasting, high quality spirits. We blend products that explore the unique effects of different distillation methods, barrels and aging environments, and bottle them at cask strength. Every batch we produce is a limited release and has an intentionally distinct flavor profile. We take pride in producing, preserving, and presenting spirits to the people who enjoy them most. 


So upon reading some of Rob's (friends call him Droopy because of his striking resemblance to the cartoon dog) recent reviews, I took it upon myself to ruthlessly ridicule one of his sampling methods: "the rub."  "The rub" is a method of sampling the nose of the bourbon by applying some of the liquid to your palm and then rubbing your palms together like you would with hand sanitizer.  I thought it was ridiculous until he explained the purpose...which is to allow you to smell all the notes of the bourbon without being brought to your knees by the overpowering vapors that remain locked inside the snifter.  I am entirely too stubborn to admit to him that I was wrong and ignorantly judgmental...after all, how can I admit that to a cartoon dog?!  


The nose:

At first pour, the alcohol vapor is pretty strong....definitely an eye clincher with even a smidge of teeth clinch.  No fist clinch or "DEAR GOD!" cry out.  Once it airs out a bit, the nose is very sweet, like vanilla extract.  Outside the remaining vapors, there isn't much spice on the nose....mostly sweet.

The rub:

Here, with the vapors removed from the equation, there is a good earthy note to get a bit of the barrel smell and the sweetness is backed off a bit.  I like this aroma better than straight from the snifter. 

The taste:

No effect on the lips but a light heat on the tongue.  It is pretty sweet, but smooth.   The finish is quite sweet as well and it warms the throat and chest.  The second and third sips are still sweet, but not as much.  Flavor, if I had to identify is cinnamon and heavy vanilla, consistent with the nose.  Typically I drop in an ice cube to curb the heat of a bourbon.  This time, I'm doing it to settle the sweetness.  Wow, that is much better, in my opinion...a single cube is enough to bring this sample right into my wheelhouse.  It allows the spice to overtake the sweetness, which I appreciate.    

Is it worth the $?

These bottles are selling for anywhere between $70 to $100.  I think I got this for $75.  I think it is a good one to add to the collection and definitely a great bourbon with unique qualities.  However, this is a 10 year bourbon...when compared to 10+ year Elijah Craig and Eagle Rare at $30, it doesn't make sense.