It’s my turn to give my take on Barrell Bourbon Batch 21, the blend of 10 to 14-year-old Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee bourbons that won “best bourbon” at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC). Honestly, I hadn’t given it much thought until it won, but I was able to find a bottle at MSRP after its win so it seemed prudent to review it myself. Unlike previous winners such as Henry McKenna 10 Year Single Barrel that are released year-round (albeit highly allocated now), only 6,000 or so bottles of Batch 21 were ever made, making this a dwindling commodity that likely won’t be soon replicated. This is an unfortunate truth, but consistent with the smallish Barrell batches that usually blend 9-15 year old bourbons.
Instead of going on a long tangent about my constant skepticism over the SFWSC awards (at least for now), all I’ll say is that I have not found every “best bourbon” winner to be good (e.g., Henry McKenna 10 Single Barrel – but there’s a lot of variation with single barrels). It’s not to say that Barrell Bourbon Batch 21 will be the same, but I am cautiously optimistic. My motto is always, “don’t hate it until you try it”, so let’s find out more in this Barrell Bourbon Batch 21 review.