Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Mizunara


Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Barrell Craft Spirits

Distillery: Sourced from undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee

Release Date: April 2024

Proof: 115.52

Age: 6 Years (Blend of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 14 year old bourbons per label)

Mashbill: 76% Corn, 20% Rye, 4% Malted Barley (Derived from the blend)

Color: Warm Copper

MSRP: $90 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release

Barrell Craft Spirits launched their Cask Finish Series in September 2023. According to the company, 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 features two releases each year, and began with Amburana and A Tale of Two Islands in 2023.

Mizunara is the first Cask Finish Series release in 2024, and represents the third release in the series. Company Founder Joe Beatrice and Chief of Distillery Operations/Chief Whiskey Scientist Tripp Stimson first explored Mizunara cask finishing with their Vantage release, ultimately inspiring them to create a bourbon finished specifically in Mizunara barrels. The Mizunara barrels used for this release are first-use barrels and were toasted (not charred). Individual bourbons used in the blend were finished in the barrels, and then blended together.

Cask Finish Series: Mizunara is a limited release totaling approximately 15,000 bottles.


Dried apricot, raisin, and black cherry appear on the nose up front. Behind the fruity scents are hints of caramel, vanilla, and honey. Peppery seasoned oak washes over all of it, creating an almost savory veil. Hints of coconut and sandalwood emerge on the backend, which are characteristic of Mizunara oak. The overall aroma is an interesting combination of scents that’s equal parts enjoyable and intriguing.


A savory mix of dry leather, sandalwood, toffee, and toasted oak is immediately noticeable. A hint of juicy dark berry and a touch of honey mingle in, but the savory flavors ultimately overshadow the sweeter ones. Soft, almost delicate peppery spice builds throughout, reaching a high point as the whiskey transitions to its finish. It’s an intriguing combination and delivery of flavors, leaning into the sip’s savory side but striking a near-perfect harmony of flavors.


The rising peppery spice from the palate overflows into the finish, mingling with leather and sandalwood as it rises and then dissipates. Sweeter flavors of butterscotch, honey, and warm caramel build with intensity, overshadowing the bourbon’s savory dry side. It’s intriguing and satisfying from start to finish, making for a unique and delicately complex bourbon.


Mizunara oak is one of rarest woods in the world, and is typically a staggering 200-500 years old before it’s harvested, which is a result of strict Japanese laws that regulate the amount of this slow growing tree that can be harvested each year. To put that into perspective, the oak used for these barrels predates the invention of the light bulb by at least 50 years, and Mizunara oak trees used for barrels could have planted roots around the time Christopher Columbus reached America for the first time. Trees grow naturally in the Japanese mountains, reaching approximately 115 feet in height. They grow in a beautiful visual structure, which is windy and intricate. Mizunara oak is best known for its use in Japanese and scotch whiskey barrels, and has been used in some American whiskeys such as Frank August Case Study: 01 Mizunara Japanese Oak Bourbon. The structure of the oak is different from typical white oak that’s required to age bourbon (most is American white oak, but being “American” is not required), with Mizunara oak being more porous and containing fewer tannins.

Barrell Craft Spirits is known for their meticulous blending process. Their attention to detail typically results in finely tuned whiskeys filled with subtle nuance. Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Mizunara is a delicate, complex whiskey. It showcases flavors Mizunara oak is known for, specifically and most uniquely coconut and sandalwood. There’s a lot of depth of flavor here, with a rich diversity of flavors that never feels brash as higher proof whiskeys can often be, instead full but rich, nuanced, and delicate at the same time. While there is a growing list of Mizunara finished bourbons, the list is a short one and not all whiskey makers have used first-use Mizunara barrels, nor have they finished them for such a long period (Barrell finished the bourbons used in this release for 1.5 years). Barrell Craft Spirits limited edition Mizunara finished bourbon hits all the high points you might expect from a Mizunara finished bourbon, delivering a subtle, nuanced bourbon that should not be missed.


Mizunara oak is an incredibly expensive wood, making the casks some of the most costly in the world, costing about 10x more per barrel than typical white oak barrels. Mizunara wood is typically purchased at auction, which sees a lot of competition and drives up the price for this rare species of wood. As a result, it’s not surprising that Mizunara aged or finished whiskeys often command a higher price point than their counterparts, especially in past years when they would fetch multiple hundreds of dollars. World Whiskey Society offers a Mizunara finished Kentucky bourbon for $124, Frank August Case Study: 01 Mizunara Japanese Oak Bourbon clocked in at $150, and Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks retailed for $350 when it was released (it fetches quite a bit more from the limited outlets that still sell it today), to name a few.

Barrell Craft Spirits priced this limited edition in line with their standard batch releases and other Cask Finish Series releases, which is still in premium territory but lower than the majority of Mizunara cask finished bourbons from competitors. Moreover, Barrell Craft Spirits’ finishing and blending process is not a simple one. In this case, Barrell first finishes individual whiskeys for an extended period, then blends the finished whiskeys together as Stimson says the impact of flavors imparted by the Mizunara oak casks affects each bourbon differently. Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Mizunara is an easy buy recommendation for any bourbon enthusiast looking for a delicate, unique, subtly complex pour.


A subtly complex, finely-tuned bourbon finished in Japanese Mizunara oak that should not be missed.

Some bourbon finishes are unique at first, but if the market picks up on them, countless whiskey makers create their own version and it doesn’t take long to see an abundance of supply. Japanese Mizunara oak sets its own natural limit on this trend. Trees that must be 200 years old before they can be harvested cannot be more rapidly procured, instead relying on sustainable harvesting methods and ultimately a limited supply.

Barrell Craft Spirits is a whiskey maker who takes extreme care in curating their whiskeys. This is typically limited to the blend, but in the case of their limited edition Finishing Series spills over into the finishing process. Mizunara oak is subtly different from American white oak, so don’t expect an overpowering impact from this whiskey. Because the whiskeys used in the blend were finished for 1.5 years, the impact is a subtle but noticeable one. Notes of coconut and sandalwood are present, which Mizunara oak is known for, and there is a depth of subtle complexity most likely attributed in part to the finishing barrels. The result is not shockingly different from a high quality standard profile straight bourbon, but when the whiskey’s nuances are stacked up, it really shines.

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

May 10, 2024
photo of author
Available at these retailers
Barrell Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Mizunara
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