Barrell Craft Spirits 15 Year Old Bourbon
15 years age statement, 2019 release
106.52 Proof / 53.26 ABV
Distilled in KY, TN & IN
Barrell Craft Spirits 15 Year Old Bourbon was named Best American Whiskey of 2018 by Fred Minnick in Forbes. That immediately made it highly sought after and next to impossible to find. The following year, Barrell quietly released this second release, which, like the others in the Barrell Craft Spirits line, sells for significantly more than the regular Barrell releases. I was fortunate enough to taste the first release, and enjoyed it, so I purchased the second release when it became available.
Nose: Butter, oak, sweet caramel, candy fruit flavors, minerals, light anise, alcohol
Taste: Sweet, butter, oak, minerals, fruit, hints of peanuts and maple syrup. The 106.52 proof is barely noticeable.
Finish: Long with butter, oak, light sweetness, barrel char and astringency. Sweetness with a hint of minerals remains at the end of the finish. Very light burn.
There’s no mistaking the Tennessee roots of this one. I picked up on the Flintstones Vitamins right away in the nose, and those flavors continue throughout. I don’t love the term because it seems a bit derogatory, and I liked the vitamins as a kid. It does however appropriately describe the flavor characteristics which are often associated with George Dickel’s whiskeys. Some people really like this flavor, others hate it.
I don’t know what percentage of the bourbons in this come from each state, but I would guess the majority is from Tennessee, or at least that is the flavor that dominates. To be perfectly honest, I did not enjoy these flavors a few years ago. Now I do appreciate them, although not enough to drink them every day. Overall, I do like this bourbon. Is its hefty price justified, though? It costs more than double than a 14 year Barrell Bourbon.
I just happen to have an open Barrell Bourbon which is 14 years old and a blend of Kentucky and Tennessee bourbons. When comparing the two, the Barrell Craft Spirits 15 Year Old Bourbon is much more complex with fuller, richer flavors. I realize that there are many other variables at play, but I just put that out there as a frame of reference, that there is a difference. Whether it justifies the premium price is a personal choice. I think with any bourbon in this price range, it is wise to try it in a bar if you can prior to purchasing a bottle, to be sure that it is worth it to you. Unfortunately, that is not so easy now-a-days. Stay safe you all. Cheers! 🥃
Want to learn more? Check out my tasting notes on the first release of Barrell 15 year at https://bourbonobsessed.com/Blog/barrell-craft-spirits-15-year-old-bourbon-first-release-tasting-notes/ .
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