weller antique 107 review
Potomac Wine and Spirits Barrell 9 Year Single Barrel Bourbon
Distillery: Barrell (sourced from MGP)
Type & Region: Indiana, Kentucky, USA
Composition: 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley
Aged: 9 years in virgin American white oak
Color: 1.4/2.0 on the color scale (tawny)
Price: $80 (750mL)
From the Barrell website:
“Each single barrel is a true single barrel – bottled at cask strength without combining it with any other barrels, unlike our batches which are bottled from a selection of several barrels blended together to a specific flavor profile. A single barrel can produce anywhere from 120 to 200 bottles.“
weller antique 107 overview
Barrell, now known as Barrel Craft Spirits, is one of best-known whiskey blenders in the US. I personally appreciate how transparent they are about the fact that they source their whiskey and shun marketing BS to try to craft (no pun intended) a made-up backstory for the company name’s and heritage. Barrell’s name is simple and clearly references its vision: source and blend barrels of whiskey or forego the blending altogether to let certain single barrels of whiskey shine. In the case of this review, it’s to let a single barrel shine (hopefully).
I’m reviewing a Potomac Wine and Spirits pick of Barrell 9 Year Bourbon, barrel 9E66 and completely distilled and aged by MGP in Indiana. At this point, I believe that most of Barrell’s single barrels come from George Dickel in Tennessee (so when you see distilled in Tennessee on the label it probably comes from Dickel), so these MGP-sourced single barrels are becoming more difficult to come-by these days.
In my years of drinking whiskey, this is only the second Barrell product (and first bourbon) I’ve ever had, the first being an 11-year-old American whiskey finished in rum barrels (batch 4). It’s time to find out what this whiskey has to offer in this Potomac Wine and Spirits Barrell 9 Year Single Barrel Bourbon review.
weller antique 107 smell
The Barrell 9 Year Bourbon, even after letting it rest for 25 minutes, starts off somewhat closed-off with moderately roasted sawn wood, brown sugar, vanilla, and just a couple blades of dried grass. Digging harder, I smell some alcohol-soaked cherries and licorice. There’s some heat, but it’s not out of place for the high proof. Moving the glass around and letting it rest a little finally gets it to open up a little more. Now there’s brown sugar, cut apples, cinnamon, and charred oak. A slight mustiness and breadiness appear, accompanied by more vanilla and caramel. It’s making me work for it.
After swirling and letting it rest again, the nose becomes richer and more interesting. There’s a ton of caramel candies, honey, vanilla, roasted oak, cinnamon, chocolate, and enough heat to keep it from being liquid candy. This Barrel 9 Year Single Barrel smells incredible, packed full of caramel with a little cotton candy. There’s a dried fruit quality in here as well, but it’s tough for me to pick out specific fruits. If I had to try, it’s dried apples and guava sprinkled with cinnamon and orange peel, like a dense apple cider. Underlying dry oak mustiness, licorice, and mint with well-balanced alcohol heat round it all out. This Potomac Wine and Spirits Barrell pick has an amazing nose; I’m a big fan.
weller antique 107 taste & aftertaste
This Potomac Wine and Spirits Barrel 9 Year Bourbon bursts with caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla buttercream sweetness with a lot of citrus, cinnamon, and anise. Roasted oak is noticeably present as well, but is far from being overdone. The alcohol on the other hand, runs around everything in my mouth, not docile but not quite overbearing. It’s there to constantly remind me that this Barrel 9 Year Single Barrel is not for the faint of palate.
“Chewing” again offers sweet notes in abundance: caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, cherries, and licorice followed roasted oak, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. No kidding, this is amped up bourbon that in conjunction with the heat, takes me on a rollercoaster of sweet, spicy, and hot.
As the rollercoaster slows down, the finish becomes sweet and oaky, leading with caramel hard candies, orange, and licorice. Even after the first sip it leaves my mouth dry, waiting for more. That’s a good thing though because the finish is fantastic, with licorice that lasts and lasts. “Chewing” leaves such a nice finish that’s balanced between sweet and oaky. It’s honey, a faint nuttiness, oak, dark chocolate, and licorice. Even after a minute there’s dried honey and licorice, a wonderful finish.
Place on the Whiskey Shelf
Wow, this Potomac Wine and Spirits Barrell 9 Year Single Barrel bourbon is awesome. It’s a caramel bomb with a big alcohol punch (especially on my tongue), a rich, delicious, and powerful bourbon worthy of drinking and a “Top Shelf” rating. I wish there were stronger dark fruit notes, but that’s really my only complaint, as minor as it is. There are whispers of it in the nose; but it’s probably covered by the other intense notes on the palate. No, I’m not asking for wine-finished levels of fruit, but a little more would have been excellent.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a frame of reference for how this compares to other Barrell bourbons, but this is a great start. I’ve had my fair share of Dickel, including Dickel Bottled in Bond 13 year, so I have an idea of what to expected with other Barrell bourbons that include Dickel in the blend. To wrap this all up, $80 is always steep for whiskey, but if you have the means and are comfortable spending that much money, I highly recommend that you buy it. While I can’t guarantee anything, I’m confident that you will enjoy this as much as I did.