Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Amburana (Edition 001)


Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced from undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Indiana

Release Date: September 2023

Proof: 116.42

Age: 5 Years

Per the back label, an undisclosed blend of 5 bourbons:

-Indiana: 5, 6, 7, and 10 years old
-Kentucky: 5 years old

Mashbill: 71% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley (Derived from the blend)

Color: Dark Reddish Caramel

MSRP: $90 / 750mL (2023)

Official Website

Barrell Craft Spirits launched the Cask Finish Series in September 2023. According to their press release, the intent of the series is to utilize “the company’s blending and finishing expertise to make bespoke blends of straight bourbon whiskeys with unique finishes.” The series will introduce two blends each year, beginning with Amburana and A Tale of Two Islands.

Amburana is a blend of five bourbons spanning two different mashbills and aged at different char levels. The blend was then finished in Amburana casks. After finishing, a vatting of an undisclosed amount of unfinished individual casks was layered into the finished portion of the blend. According to Barrell Craft Spirits, “Chief Whiskey Scientist Tripp Stimson sourced true 53-gallon barrels made from sustainably harvested Amburana wood to finish bourbon. It took a full year of R&D to hone in on the right timing and conditions that would create just the right balance of flavor concentration.”

Cask Finished Series: Amburana is a limited release totaling 14,400 bottles.


The bourbon kicks things off with an aroma that’s clearly influenced by the distinctiveness of the Amburana finishing barrels. Warm, familiar scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and gingerbread cookie combine with graham cracker and a touch of honey over a foundation of baking spices. Pulling a deeper inhale reveals a bit of charred oak, but it remains quite mild against the more robust initial scents. While Amburana barrel finishing can have an overpowering influence on whiskey, it’s kept in check on the nose, maintaining a high degree of balance with the underlying bourbon.


Sweet flavors of honey, graham cracker, and gingerbread are counterbalanced by cinnamon, baking spices, clove, and light charred oak. A caramel undercurrent forms underneath. The flavors are warming and rich, with a buttery texture. Like the aroma, the taste of the bourbon highlights its Amburana barrel influence impeccably, never going too intensely into the Amburana flavor spectrum. Despite the high proof, the bourbon avoids crossing over to overly hot territory making for a sip that’s easy to hold in your mouth and chew on.


The bourbon’s spice notes become more prominent in the finish, ramping up in intensity against a sweet base of honey, gingerbread, and brown sugar. Cinnamon, allspice, and a citrusy Christmas spice mix akin to a simmering holiday potpourri join the sweeter flavors. Vigorous but manageable, the long finish caps the sip off nicely. It leans into highlighting the flavors driven by the Amburana finishing, but keeps them balanced against the base bourbon to a notable degree.


Amburana is a species of tree native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Peru. Amburana wood has a tight grain, and has been traditionally used to age Cachaca (though most Cachaca is aged in oak), a popular Brazilian spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. Amburana is also used for lumber, and craft brewers took a liking to it before bourbon producers did.

Amburana finished bourbons became increasingly popular in 2023, but the overall volume of products has remained low as Amburana wood is limited, and the style has been primarily used for single barrel and small quantity releases. The impact of finishing in Amburana casks isn’t subtle, the wood adds a tremendous amount of unique flavor typically resulting in a polarizing final product that some love and others downright hate.

Being known for their blending capability, Barrell took a more balanced approach for their Amburana finished bourbon. It highlights the familiar notes of cinnamon, gingerbread cookie, nutmeg, and clove that I often notice with this finishing style, but maintains the underlying structure of the bourbon. As it seems all too easy to overdo Amburana finishing, this balance is likely attributed to the fact that Barrell took an unusual approach of blending non-finished bourbon back into the finished portion of the batch. Whether not frequently practiced, or just rarely disclosed, it’s an approach you don’t often hear brands talk about with respect to their finished whiskeys.

Based on the result, Barrell’s blending strategy eliminates any of the more potentially off-putting flavor notes that can be attributed to Amburana finishing entirely, and tempers the flavors drinkers familiar with Amburana finished bourbons would come to expect. While I’ve enjoyed other Amburana finished bourbons for their sheer uniqueness, even when the Amburana flavors are dialed up to an 11, too much Amburana influence makes for a sip that lacks balance and ventures quite a ways away from the core bourbon flavors. Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Amburana is far less polarizing than other Amburana finished bourbons I’ve had, which should translate to a flavor profile that appeals to many, albeit at the cost of being less overtly unique tasting.


So far Amburana finished bourbons have been mostly limited to bourbons in the middle of the single digit age range (or do not state age at all), though Seelbach’s released a few fantastic older 9-year-olds ($140) and there is an anticipated 12 year old Amburana finished bourbon from Rabbit Hole that will fall under their premium Founder’s Collection line (MSRP unknown, but expected to be high). While the exact percentages of different bourbons in the blend are not disclosed and the youngest in the blend is 5 years, the blend does contain bourbon aged up to 10 years. What it ultimately provides is a base structure that works well with the Amburana finish, complementing it without overpowering it.

Amburana barrels are accessible, but limited and costly as a result which generally equates to greater value. This is likely one of the reasons we have not seen Amburana barrel finished bourbon releases in larger numbers, as well as the risk involved with utilizing such a powerful finishing barrel type and running the risk of ruining the whiskey entirely.

Barrell has managed that by keeping a lot of attention on the core blend, and even blending an undisclosed amount of straight non-Amburana finished bourbon back in to keep flavors in check. As is usually the case with Barrell’s blends, this attention to detail is what sets them apart. Given that Amburana finished bourbons are still fairly rare and in limited numbers, the fact that Barrell has produced a reasonably accessible quantity (14,400 bottles) and dialed in the Amburana finish in such a way that it will appeal to a wider audience is where the value of this particular whiskey lies. As far as limited editions and venturing into a still relatively new bourbon finishing style go, Barrell offers a finely-tuned product as one that’s well worth seeking out and a solid value at its price point.


Highlighting its Amburana finish while maintaining its underlying bourbon structure, Barrell Bourbon Cask Finished Series: Amburana focuses on balance.

It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to Amburana finished bourbons over the long term. Still relatively new, many bourbon drinkers have yet to even try one release, let alone explore a handful of them. While other Amburana finished bourbons I’ve had tend to offer much more prominent Amburana flavors resulting in a more unique tasting whiskey, they’re also more polarizing. Barrell Craft Spirits chose a more balanced route, and given the size of this release and the fact that for many it may be their first experience with an Amburana finished bourbon, the strategy makes sense.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that even those who don’t enjoy other (stronger) Amburana finished bourbons will enjoy this one, but if there is any Amburana finished whiskey that might make them a believer in the finishing style, this is the one. Barrell Bourbon Cask Finished Series: Amburana offers a finely-tuned sip that highlights the flavors they’ve already become familiar with while still maintaining its core bourbon structure.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
360 video

Written By: Nick Beiter

November 3, 2023
photo of author
Available at these retailers
Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Amburana (Edition 001)
Also Check out
No items found.
Reviews By This Author
Recent Reviews
Recent Articles
  • Exclusive Content
  • new content summary
  • bourbon in the news
  • social media roundup
Terms of UsePrivacy PolicyEthics PolicyCommenting Policy