Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons
Company: Barrell Craft Spirits
Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana)
Release Date: September 2021
Age: 15 Years
MSRP: $250 (2021)
Cherry oak | Strawberry rhubarb | Mixed nut | Leather | Chocolate crinkle cookie | Light spearmint | Slight mustiness
Neapolitan ice cream | Cherry cola | Lavender | Touch of allspice
Dry oak | Musty oak | Old leather | Ramp of heat
It made a lot of sense when Barrell Craft Spirits announced their Gray Label spin-off 4 years ago. The company proved their blending prowess batch after batch with their standard releases, but they didn’t have a place to showcase blends featuring their best barrels at a higher age. Despite their Gray Label’s sticker shock, we’ve found the whiskey to be top notch in past releases.
Back once again with a new release, things are a little different in 2021. High-aged whiskey - which includes high aged Kentucky whiskey and especially high-aged Tennessee whiskey, has flooded the market. Although the aged Kentucky whiskey has been priced by other non-distiller producers comparably, Dickel notably prices their own 15 Year Tennessee Whiskey at a ridiculously low $60. This is important because it's impossible to taste this year’s Barrell Craft Spirit 15 Year Bourbon and not immediately notice the Tennessee whiskey in it.
While that could be problematic, Barrell Craft Spirits uses it to their advantage. They use it as a strong foundation of their blend, and use the Kentucky bourbon to add depth, along with the Indiana bourbon to add flair. Tasting this directly against Dickel 15 Year, the differences are immediately apparent. Additional depth and layers of complexity are now present, and overall it's a more dynamic bourbon. The blend doesn’t try to hide its individual parts as plenty of other blenders would probably have strived for. It insteads highlights its heritage and brings the best out from each of them. It's a different approach but one that Barrell Craft Spirits proves works.