Barrell Craft Spirits Bourbon Batch 035, Rye Batch 004 review and notes

Barrell Craft Spirits bourbon batch 035 and rye batch 004. Photo by Michael Collins/FanSided
Barrell Craft Spirits bourbon batch 035 and rye batch 004. Photo by Michael Collins/FanSided /

Barrell Craft Spirits have released its newest batches of straight bourbon and rye, showing that they can deliver quality in more than just interesting blends. 

When you think of Barrell Craft Spirits you probably think of their ongoing blended offerings such as Dovetail, Armida, and (my personal favorite) Seagrass. While those famous blends and their 15 and 25-year-old counterparts are certainly at the core of Barrell’s legacy, their straight whiskey expressions are not to be overlooked.

Recently, BCS released their Bourbon batch 035 and  Rye batch 004, both coming in at cask strength and with some early accolades from the whiskey community.

Per BCS, the bourbon is a blend of straight bourbon whiskey distilled and aged in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana, with a selection of 6, 7, 8, and 13-year-old barrels. It was aged in American white oak barrels and bottled in Kentucky.

The rye is a blend of straight rye whiskeys distilled and aged in Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Canada, with a selection of 5, 6, 10, and 14-year-old barrels. It was crafted and bottled in Kentucky.

From BCS founder Joe Beatrice:

"“It’s incredible to think we’ve launched 35 unique bourbon batches over the past 10 years, which truly speaks to our passion for pushing the creative envelope every day. We’re also thrilled to launch our first rye batch since 2020 which marks the debut of our new back labels that will become a staple of nearly all our future releases. As longtime champions of transparency, this further underscores our commitment to informing consumers about what’s in their glass of whiskey.”"

Here are reviews and tasting notes for both offerings.

Barrell Craft Spirits Bourbon Batch 035 Description

Blend Components: Indiana: 6, 7, & 8 years old, Tennessee: 7 & 13 years old, Kentucky: 8 years old
Mash bill: Corn: 78%, Rye: 18%, Malted Barley: 4%
ABV: 58.75 %
Color: Red oak
Age: 6 years
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Private Barrels Available: Yes
MSRP: $89.99

BCS Bourbon Batch 035 Tasting Notes

Nose: Immediately you are hit with the traditional brown sugar-caramel note present in many straight bourbons. The underlying tropical fruits give the nose an interesting turn. Bananas and coconut come first, followed by pineapple and candied dates. Even at this higher proof, the ethanol content of the nose is barely noticeable, the sign of a good blend.

Palate: The palate journey begins on a spicy note, with cinnamon and white pepper jumping to the front. There are more baking spices as you approach the mid-palate. As the whiskey moves over your tongue and throat a sweet brown bread begins to unfold, with powdered sugar and white fruits (primarily grape, most likely from the Tennessee distillate) settling in. It’s a lovely journey and will likely become more complex as the whiskey opens up with age.

The fruit flavors popped even more with a splash of distilled water.

Finish: With some blends of multiple-aged whiskey, the finish can become the victim, but not in this case. The finish on this bourbon is creamy and buttery with some cherry and citrus pith. I’d estimate the flavors lingered for a good 20 seconds or more. Quite nice.

Conclusions: Many times it’s hard to justify a price point of over $50 for a blended bourbon, but in this case, the $90 price tag is quite indicative of what’s inside. This is an excellent sipping bourbon and a fascinating blend. BCS has moved past the fruit-forward blends and really found a way to compete with some of the better-known blenders out there.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

Barrell Craft Spirits Rye Batch 004 Description

Blend Components: Indiana: 5, 6, & 10 years old, Tennessee: 5 years old, Kentucky: 6 years old, Canadian: 14 years old
Mash bill: Rye: 89%, Corn: 7%, Malted Barley: 4%
ABV: 57.85 %
Color: Dark amber
Age: 5 years, 6 months
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Private Barrels Available: Yes
MSRP: $89.99

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BCS Rye Batch 004Tasting Notes

Nose: With a rye of this proof you would expect the rye spice and grassy notes to be front and center. Not so here. The nose opens with some sweet blended fruits (think of a stick of Juicy Fruit gum) along with seasoned oak, nutmeg, and even a little black cherry. It’s hardly identifiable as a rye until you take some deeper sniffs and begin picking up some of the more traditional rye notes.

Palate: Here’s where more of the traditional rye flavors come in. That familiar minty, grassy rye taste is masterfully accompanied by vanilla, pepper, pears in syrup, and oak. For those who tend to like ryes on the sweeter side, this will be a welcomed dram.

Adding a splash of distilled water opened up more of the rye spice and a touch of eucalyptus, but the sweetness was still there cushioning the entire palate experience.

Finish: The finish is medium-length but worth every moment. Cherry, honey, and oak notes linger on, dancing around the rye spice and grass.

Conclusions: Are there good ryes out there for a fraction of the price? Absolutely, but the complexity of this rye coming from its varied group of distillates really set this BCS expression apart. There are things for both rye enthusiasts and those who are hesitant to invest in mid-priced rye to enjoy.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

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