Happy New Year
It may seem hard to believe, but it’s been four years since we bottled our first batch of Barrell Bourbon. Since then, we’ve released 14 batches of bourbon, 5 batches of whiskey, 2 batches of rye, and 1 batch of rum. We’ve also released 2 editions of our New Year Bourbon and a very limited Rum release – Tale of Two Islands – along with our selection of single barrels. We’ve met many of you at tastings, dinners and whiskey events across the country. Our success is all due to our fans and supporters. Thank you!
2017 was a big year for us as we began work on our distillery in Louisville, KY. Our blending tanks are in and our bottling line is up and running as we continue the buildout.
Last spring, Barrell Bourbon won top awards from one of the most respected industry spirits competitions - the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Barrell Bourbon 011, Barrell Whiskey 004 and Barrell Rum 001 were all finalists in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, earning a rating of Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation. Bourbon 011 and Rum 001 scored 96 points, and Whiskey 004 scored 89 points. Barrell Rum was the only rum that scored 96 points, the second highest score. Barrell Bourbon 009 scored 95, also an Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation.
Following those awards, Barrell Bourbon Batch 011 won best Small Batch Bourbon and Best Bourbon, at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the largest international spirits competition in the United States, beating Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel in the final two glass race. Barrell Rum 001 won best Over-Proof Rum. Both were also prestigious Double Gold winners, considered outstanding and earning top marks from all judges. Barrell Single Barrel 7B29, bottled specially for Mash + Grape, and Barrell Whiskey 004 also came home with the Gold.
Our winner Barrell Bourbon 011 was the culmination of a two-year barrel sorting project focused on highlighting a particularly rare and bright flavor note found in only select barrels of bourbon. The base of this blend was 6-year-old barrels, but it contained older barrels as well. San Francisco competition judge Fred Minnick called out its “rich caramel, vanilla, roasted pecans, marzipan” notes.
We hope to bring home more awards when we submit the latest batches to 2018 spirits competitions.
We’re proud of the accolades Barrell received in 2017. Whisky Advocate rated Barrell Bourbon 011 a 91, Barrell Whiskey 004 a 90, and Barrell Whiskey 003 an 89, and The Wine Enthusiast rated Barrell Whiskey 004 a 93. We were also featured in the articles in Robb Report, Covey Rise, USA Today and Men’s Journal.
Thanks to all of the reviewers who took the time to taste our whiskey and share their impressions with the world. If you haven’t read them yet, check out reviews on our website from The Whiskey Reviewer, The Whiskey Wash, Axis of Whisky, Adventures in Whiskey, Bourbon Scout, and many others. If you follow us on Instagram you can also see great photos and posts by many of our fans.
Check out our newest batches in the market – Barrell Bourbon 014, Barrell Whiskey 005, Barrell Rye 002 – and our extremely limited releases of Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands and New Year 2018 Bourbon.
Barrell Bourbon 014: After bottling Barrell Bourbon 012, we reserved a portion of it in the original barrels, which became the foundation for Batch 014. We then selected additional 9 year-old bourbon barrels for their fruit notes, as well as a number of 14 year-old high rye barrels to deliver a bit of spice and oak. The result is complex and thoughtful - a nicely balanced spicy bourbon.
Barrell Rye 002: This is our second Rye release, expanding on our interpretation of a traditional rye whiskey, combining two very diverse ryes. We selected barrels of a 100% malted rye distilled and aged in Poland for 5 years in new charred #3 oak barrels from World Cooperage. We then blended it with an Indiana high malted barley rye that was aged in Indiana and Kentucky for over 5 years. The Polish Rye is dry, with a rich nutty flavor, and pairs beautifully with the lush Indiana Rye, resulting in a sweet and savory balance of malted chocolate and roasted cashews.
New Year 2018 Bourbon: In 2017, we came up with the idea of blending a bourbon to celebrate the New Year, and we gave ourselves free reign to develop something to capture the spirit of the season. It was the first time we blended barrels of different ages with different mashbills from different states, and we had a lot of fun doing it. Building on that success we decided to release a 2018 New Year Bourbon. We mixed together barrels comprised of reserves from some of our batches and other choice barrels coming from 7 distilleries in 5 states. We think you'll like it.
Barrell Rum Tale of Two Islands: We started by filling previously used Islay Single Malt Whisky casks with a small amount of Barrell Rum Batch 001. We let it mature and the result is a deeply intense Jamaican rum with just a touch of misty peat smoke. Blended to be harmonious, it speaks to the place it was distilled, and to the home of the casks. This is a very limited release so it won’t last long!
Raise a Glass
Last year we expanded to Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. We’d like to give a shout out to some of the recent bars and restaurants in our markets that have welcomed Barrell with open arms. Stop in at Dalton & Wade in Minneapolis, Red Phone Booth in Atlanta, Rosewater Clear Lake in Houston, Mickey Mantle Steakhouse in Oklahoma City and Death & Co. in NYC for good food, company and the latest batches of Barrell.
Don’t miss a drop
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn and be sure to check out our events page for Barrell Bourbon tastings near you.
Finding unique whiskeys is our passion and we look forward to bringing you more of the very best in 2018.
Thanks to all our customers for your support over the past year. Best wishes to all for a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Lift your spirits.