Barrell Craft Spirits has been doing wonderous and remarkable things. From my most recent experience with Barrell Seagrass, to Dovetail, to the fun batches of bourbon & rye, there hasn't been anything from them that I've been able to turn down a pour of yet. I even won a signed bottle from Joe Beatrice in a blind tasting competition! That said, I go into every pour with a challenging and inquisitive mind. I generally try to disregard label and price once the liquor hits the glass and just evaluate on my reception to the experience.
Company on Label: Barrell Craft Spirits
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Age: 7 years
Further identification: Distilled in Kentucky, USA is listed on the back of this bottle; Barrel # Z2F4, bottle # 161. This is a store pick from Kappy's in MA for the 1940 Barrel Society called "Kappy Endings". I purchased this bottle in June of 2021
Nose: Wow, lovely spicy cherry; not hot in the sense of pepper spicy... not herbal... but a zesty hot tamale candy cherry. Really nice introduction smell. Caramel funk and citrus tied marvelously to the oak. It has that hallmark Pinesol note I've come to know very well. This has the makings of something that really reminds me of Willett distillate. Lightly dusty but mainly that sweet cinnamon is shining through on the nose pre-sip. Now some herbal chocolate mixes in. A bite of pepper. This has to be fairly high in rye content with what I'm smelling so far. I love it, but it definitely does not nose like a bourbon at the start! Introducing some air on a swirl brings out some light vanilla, white pepper and more of that funky citrus. The pre-sip nose seems to have run it's course, so let's give this a taste. Post sip, some of the intensity of the spice has mellowed which is a nice reprieve for the nostrils. It's more of a cardamom spice now with a slightly burnt oak. Caramelized sugar totally decimates the spice and now there is just a silky base of sweetness. A touch of mint can be found now that the aromas have turned more delicate late in the glass. A bit of dark, bready graham cracker can be found on deep inhales. I have zero complaints about this nose. Empty glass is a bit of floral vanilla and light molasses.
Palate: Woah! That cherry explosion! It instantly fades into the cinnamon hot tamale candy profile I was also getting on the nose. The delivery of this is intense on a fresh palate. The linger is ridiculous. Alcohol soaked oak carries the same funky Pinesol-esque citrus forward. Molasses and chocolate are found left on my tongue on an exhale. The citrus feel has transitioned a bit to something that resembles a cooked or poached orange. Spearmint presents late as if the glass just turned over a new page. Some light chamomile tea flavors dance along late in the pour, as some lemon juice and honey drizzle their way into the finish. Some extra dark fruit and brown sugar is incredibly subtle but there. The last sip leaves me yearning for another glass, which is pretty rare for me. The light sting of lemon zest is so enjoyable to me at this proof.
This flavor is exactly why I love Willett family estate offerings. I obviously have no way of confirming if this indeed came from Willett, but my palate is about 95% confident it is... and I'm 100% confident that I love this bourbon. Thinking through this a bit more, it is definitely capable of being from Willett, given distillation resumed in 2012 and this is a 7 year age statement; it also shares a similar cask strength proof to some other Willett 7 year offerings I found online near 120°... Now does this mean Willett thought this wasn't good enough to be bottled under their label, or was Kappy's just lucky enough to select a fantastic barrel before it could go into the un-obtain-o-sphere? Thanks to Blake over at Bourbonr for some of the information that led me to this conclusion. I claim no accuracy to the information in this post, this is just my humble opinion on what I am tasting tonight. Let me know if you have tried this and what you think of it. Am I crazy? Definitely possible. Cheers!