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This Week's Dram: Barrell Bourbon Batch #4

I’m in the midst of finalising work tasks and packing to set off for Venice this weekend. I intend to drink Prosecco and other wines from the Veneto while I’m there.


Meantime, I’m delighted to bring Barrell Bourbon’s Batch 004 to your attention this week. I wrote about their Batch 003 for the FWL newsletter last year. Lovely people to deal with.


In terms of nose and taste profile I have their enticing notes:


Appearance: Robust and amber hued.


Nose: Cast iron pan cooked cornbread right up front, slathered with hand-crushed Tellicherry peppercorns and served alongside slowly barbecued turkey wings.


Palate: Thickly textured on the tongue. Crushed limestone and redolent with firm, yet well-balanced hints of Caribbean baking spices and deeply scented peach butter across the tongue and lips.


Finish: Luxurious and pertinent with a finish that turns quickly into dribs of saddle leather and deeper notes of burning tobacco.


Elsewhere they also describe sea salt, peach preserves and Turkish tobacco (very sweetly aromatic), moving fluidly into lemon marmalade and cedar shavings with honey and salty peanut brittle at the end.


Now those are fascinating tasting notes. I must come to visit and try a Tellicherry peppercorn. Everything else I’m already familiar with. I’d also love to try matching this with different foods.


Joe Beatrice who owns the distillery sent over some great information about Batch 4 which is just being released for sale now so a chance to get in while it’s still available.


Bottled at 116.7 proof (58.35 abv), without any chill-filtration, the mash bill for Batch 004 uses corn (sweetness), rye (spice) and malted barley for many subtle flavors and some firm backbone. It is distilled in Kentucky and is aged for 6 years, 4 months in charred white oak. That length of maturation is equivalent to many more years in Scotland as the temperatures in Kentucky are rather higher – which is why distillers there tend to move their casks round the warehouse or use temperature control.


Everything they do at Barrell is small but perfectly formed - the batches are small and limited release and everything is bottled at cask strength so you can decide at what strength you want to drink it. I think it’s nice to have that freedom to play with how powerful a taste you want.


From tomorrow and for the next few weeks, Barrell are participating in tastings and events in the north eastern US. See their website at for more detail.