There’s an air of scientific precision surrounding Barrell Bourbon Batch 014. Its name isn’t the only highly precise numeral on the label: aside from its bottle number (I was sipping from 9251), you’ll also find its proof: 109.4.
This cask-strength whiskey from Barrell Craft Spirits was aged and distilled in Tennessee and Kentucky, and bottled in the Bluegrass State (yes, that’s Kentucky). The base of the spirit is the same 9-year-old whiskey that constitutes their Batch 012, plus an additional 9-year-old whiskey selected for its fruit qualities, and a 14-year-old high-rye bourbon.
Barrell Batch 014 pours a medium, ruddy-gold in the glass and its nose features big notes of vanilla, honey, almond, and a bit of bread pudding. The flavors at the front of the palate are honey, caramelized banana, and shortbread cookie. This sweet, rich start is complemented by a warm, creamy, and incredibly round texture that coats the mouth. The bourbon’s fruity character comes into its own at the center with strong notes of cherry followed by baking spices, pipe tobacco, and a deep, dark, woody flavor that has an almost incense-like quality.
This bourbon, which manages to be warm, creamy, and spiced all at once, becomes oakier and drier as it hits the back of your palate. What follows are notes of leather, dry biscuit, and finally black pepper. Its dry finish with a measured spice pulse is electrified by a live-wire of hot spice just after the finish line.
Barrell Bourbon Batch 014 is a big, bold, bourbon lover’s bourbon that’s bound to dazzle fans of the aforementioned spirit, though its impressively dry and spice-forward conclusion should pull in rye aficionados, too.
— 54.7% ABV