Barrell - Cask Strength - Batch #6

Nose: Sweet bourbon notes combined with a slight medicinal/rubbing alcohol smell. There’s just enough of that medicinal scent to make it a tad less inviting, but not awful. Palate: This is another example of a bourbon where the nose does not match up with the taste. Based on the nose, I wasn’t looking forward to the taste, but I was pleasantly surprised. This guy is classic "bourbon sweet", with caramel, vanilla and a good dose of cherries and some cinnamon. Despite its high proof, the first sip did NOT kick my teeth in. In fact, instead of heat, one is hit with a blast of rich flavor. It was a very pleasant surprise. On the second sip, you do feel the heat, starting at the end of the mid-palate and lasting into the finish. It doesn’t last too long and isn’t too intense. It does have that nice warming as it heads down your throat. It leaves a little bit of a peppery aftertaste, primarily on the tongue. The mouthfeel is on the medium to thick side. This is a great example of what you want out of a barrel strength……not too much heat and the fullness of undiluted flavor. I have to add that on the last sip, which is usually a good 20 - 30 minutes after the first, I actually got a little more of the heat, which I found somewhat odd. This guy wallops a 122.9 proof punch. In a blind tasting, you’d pick up that the proof is probably higher than normal, but you probably wouldn’t guess that is was that high. Barrell Craft Spirits, who puts out a variety of sourced spirits, release each batch at cask strength. Because of this, each batch and each variety is going to be different, so a review is probably only useful to give you a sense of where their head is at when they are picking barrels (which are sourced….supposedly from Tennessee). This one has an 8 year age statement, which once again confirms that 8-12 is probably my sweet spot for bourbon. The mashbill is reportedly 70% corn, 26% rye, 4% malted barley. This is NOT a single barrel release. I very much enjoyed this bourbon. Based on this bottle, I might be tempted to get another Barrell product, despite being in a higher price range (I think this was in the $80 range, but a reviewer below placed it at $90). [FYI….Batch #6 was released in 2015.]