Barrell Vantage Review - Bourbon Finished in Mizunara, French, and Toasted American Oak
It's time for another exciting new release from Barrell Craft Spirits! I am historically a huge fan of this style of blending and finishing as it allows for a wide array of creative freedom to create something unique & delicious. Batch 1 of the Seagrass was just divine, so they've set quite a high bar for themselves prior to launching this release. Another unique finish that I loved was the Tokaji single barrel that we selected for Spirit Animal Society. Barrell self describes their creation, saying:
Each component whiskey in Vantage is finished separately, then systematically combined according to a blending process fueled in equal parts by a scientific approach, experience, creativity, and experimentation. This process focuses on the wood characteristics and the specific flavor contributions that each cask contributes to the blend. The result is a masterfully blended, perfectly balanced representation of the harmonious synergy between bourbon and barrel.
This sample was provided to me from Barrell Craft Spirits at no cost and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to review this pour with no strings attached.
Company on Label: Barrell Craft Spirits
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed blend of IN, TN, and KY mash bills
Further identification: This is another special release from Barrell Craft Spirits that dropped around September/October 2022
Nose: Toasted vanilla & marshmallow oozes out of the glass as I raise it towards my nose. Soft baking spice rises slowly revealing sweet cinnamon powder, brown sugar and leather. A soft bakery bread aroma wafts by the nostrils like a warm hug on a cold day. The nose-feel is incredibly delicate; as if someone had stacked a thousand cards just right into a fragile masterpiece. There's more vanilla, almost turning synthetic, as the nose compounds in volume. White table linens & Easter chocolate aromas transport me to comfortable, good times amongst family. Crème brûlée caramelizes live in the nostrils. Traditional barrel funk can be found on deep inhales, but again everything is so very delicate and mellow here - nosing like a slow Sunday morning where you've got nowhere to be. As the glass rests flower petals parting reveal a sweeter path forward as aromas of raisin, persimmon, and peppered plum jam build well. A vigorous swirl of the glass completely changes the glass as powerful savory tones come off the grill. Dark molasses, brown sugar and root beer take over. Time for a sip!
Returning to the nose the sweetness and spice are more entwined & cohesive rather than the weaving undulation that started in the glass. When the liquid in the glass is disturbed it's amazing how much heft comes off of it as bready, oily tones volatize into the delectable vapors we love to breath in. There's great barrel funk hidden in the corners. Cherry shortbread tart dances well in the glass that nears empty. It's light with perfumery sweetness. The now empty glass reveals heavy, syrupy plum, milk chocolate and the softest oak tone that is still perceptible.
Palate: Right away the mouth coating is rich with heavy cola, brown sugar, nutmeg and infinitely tingling spice that doesn't quite sting. The linger sits heavy on the tongue like a darker Werthers mixed with walnut and milk chocolate. Another sip becomes much softer as the spice subsides and rich, aged oak tones reveal their sweeter tannins. Caramel, cherry skins and the same rich raisin note from the nose is prevalent on a sip; the fruit is much clearer to the tongue than it was to the nostrils. A larger sip and swish reveals the delicious bakery experience well; I find orange glazed cranberry bread personally. It's a delicious treat that drinks well below its proof after the initial shock of the first sip of the day. My last sip is a doozy of brown sugar and nutmeg encrusted apricots. The finish is medium with maple syrup, almonds, and sunflower seeds atop a simple bowl of oatmeal.
This is really good whiskey. I can tell a lot of care, time and conviction went into crafting this. The high quality is especially apparent on the nose which elicited great depth that pulled forth so many great memories for me. It's an incredibly comforting pour - one I think I will remember for a long time because of how it made me feel. Drinking this made me feel welcome and comfortable. Reach for this when you are with your closest friends and family & remember to enjoy the company as much if not more than the whiskey. Cheers!