We are awash in a world of bourbon these days. In fact, some might even say there are too many options available, making it hard to separate the quality from the crap. That makes it even more important to highlight brands that consistently put out some of the best bottles, like Louisville’s Barrell Craft Spirits which just released Batch 34 of its well-regarded series of blended bourbon.
As we’ve covered here before, Barrell Craft Spirits sources barrels of bourbon (and other types of whiskey) from distilleries in states like Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, and blends them together in Louisville. Each batch of the core bourbon blend differs as far as age of the whiskey and proportions of barrels that are used, but it’s hard to find a release that hasn’t really lived up to the reputation that BCS has built for itself since its founding 10 years ago in 2013. Joe Beatrice leads the team, and along with people like chief of distillery operations and “whiskey scientist” Tripp Stimson he decides on which barrels to use and sometimes what type of cask to finish the whiskey in.
Cask finishes are not involved in the Barrell Bourbon series, just the selection of quality barrels of bourbon of various ages and origins to combine into a product that meets BCS’s high standards. The latest, Batch 34, is a blend of bourbon aged for six, eight, 10 and 15 years (the age statement on the bottle is six years, indicating the youngest whiskey in the blend). According to the distillery notes, the foundation of the blend was the eight-year-old bourbon which supplied hazelnut and dark cherry notes. That mingled with high-corn barrels for several months, and then younger high-rye barrels were added to provide baking spice flavors. Finally, the 10 and 15-year-old bourbons were blended in to add tannic and earthy notes.
The whiskey comes from the aforementioned states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana, and was bottled at cask strength of 114.62 proof (all of the BCS spirits are bottled at barrel proof). Official tasting notes describe eggnog and dry cider on the nose, followed by blackcurrant, cinnamon donut and pecan pie on the palate. The finish has some tannin and minerality, and a splash of water will open up this whiskey and reveal new layers.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 34 is available to purchase now from the BCS website, and will be available at select retailers around the country in the coming weeks.