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Rare Character Single Barrel Bourbon Review: RIO-300

Rare Character Bourbon - RIO Single Barrel

Today's review covers a shining example of the wave of barrels taking the whiskey world by storm from Pete and Pablo of Rare Character. I've previously had the great pleasure of selecting some of their finest stocks, but as an engineer, I know it's always good to gather more data. When another good connection in the whiskey world offered a chance to try this Liquor Barn barrel I jumped all over it. Let's dive into a quick look at what one can expect out of a "RIO" single barrel... Recently Pete shared some interesting background facts on this run of barrels that Rare Character picked up:

6 Year 7 Month Straight Bourbon Whiskey | Distilled in Indiana, Aged in Kentucky - 75% corn / 21% rye / 4% malted barley mash bill - Aged in a stone warehouse in Kentucky built in 1887 - It has a honeyed sweetness quality
Pablo notes: - The aging process on this particular group of barrels brought out a lot of spice; it's a heavy and complex whiskey beyond just being sweet - Low tone spice, very dynamic, very "its own" because of its warehouse - Notes of apricot pits vs the flesh (pure pits) - Compare to and drink alongside Old Forester 1920

Well if this can hang alongside the likes of a classic in Old Forester 1920, I'm probably going to be a fan. While all single barrels are going to have some nuances, a 'run' of barrels means a string of whiskey that may have been distilled in a particular fashion and/or aged all together in a particular location. Think of it as a kind of whiskey family; where each individual is allowed to have their own characteristics, but there's a deeper bond that creates common ground as well. Let's dive in!


Company on Label: Rare Character Whiskey Co.

Whiskey Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

Proof: 116.30°

Age: 5 years and 7 months

Further identification: This rare release is a single barrel selected be Liquor Barn; it was distilled in Indiana, aged in Kentucky and bottled by Rare Character


Nose: Lemon zest jumps out first at me similar to how modern Willett rye lands. Creamy buttercream frosting, sugar cookie and leather well beyond the bottles age might suggest are prevalent and pleasant aromas. The glass continues to be potent & delicious with desserts popping up at every corner. Wax paper, candy buttons and crème fraîche land ahead of nutmeg and coffee bean. Lovely layers all throughout here. Yum!

Palate: At first sip I’m immediately impressed, giving off an audible “mmm”. Vanilla angel food cake, glazed donut and a mighty sweet lemon tea medley sits creamy in the mouth. Another sip reveals a delicious 'Adventurefuls' girl scout cookie profile. A longer sip and swish builds up vanilla bean ice cream, soft marshmallow and sweet frangelico. The overall mouthfeel is a silky bakery delight - an instant classic. Soft bread notes introduce a funky brown sugar finish. The linger is medium, but quite sweet and I’m not sore about the duration in the least here. My last sip is like a lemon parfait perfected - lemon pudding, cookie crumb and whipped cream layered with care. The linger slowly fades from a peak of sweet vanilla.


Rating: 4/5

This is the realness; another data point in my spreadsheet that says “Pablo knows best”. These RIO barrels are liquid dessert with a hint of complex spice & that just hit the spot for me today! Cheers.



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