Barrell Bourbon Batch 031

Barrell Bourbon Batch 031

55.6% ABV
$90
Website
Barrell Bourbon Batch 031
We would like to thank Barrell Craft Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review.

What the Blender Says

Barrell Bourbon Batch 031 is a blend of 6, 7, 10, 15 and 16-year-old barrels. The blend was built around the sweetness in a group of 99% corn bourbon barrels and a group of wheated bourbon barrels. To bridge these two groupings, we layered in 15 and 16-year-old barrels for their gentle nuttiness and oak. Finally, a selection of 10-year-old barrels was added to bring notes of milk chocolate and tropical fruit.

  • A blend of straight Bourbon Whiskeys
  • Distilled and aged in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana
  • Selection of 6, 7, 10, 15, and 16-year-old barrels
  • Aged in American white oak barrels
  • Bottled in Kentucky
  • 111.2 proof cask strength bottling

FLAVOR NOTES
A perfect autumn release, this batch’s notes of shortbread cookie, pumpkin pie, peppermint latte, and pine needles match the mood of sweater weather.

Neat
Appearance: Deep Gold.
Nose: A rush of dry, notable oak, incorporating wormwood, tobacco, and pine needles. Curious and sweet with browned butter, candied walnut, and spiced apple pie. Other notes balance between woodsy and floral, such as thistle, milkweed, and poppyseed. As we emerge beyond the scope of oak, we find some fruity and sweet cream notes, the latter represented by peppermint latte and vanilla creme anglaise.
Palate: Moderate sweetness and juicy citrus make for quite an easy pour. The fruit sings loudest here — pomegranate juice and strawberry rhubarb pie. Extractive elements of spice and tannin bring quince and ginger beer into the equation. The baking spice nods toward a Manhattan, garnished with an orange twist. Finally, some marshmallow root and pumpernickel take it in an earthier, cardoon-like direction.
Finish: A quick burst of heat announces smoked paprika, black peppercorn, and spearmint. As it subsides, demerara rum and black cherry soda emerge. Finally, it fades to leave only a little chalk and slate.
With a few drops of spring water
As is often the case, the oak gets pushed way back to reveal abundant tropical fruit, especially lime and passion fruit. The woodsy/floral balance also pitches over into the bouquet, displaying apple blossom, dogwood and rose. Creamed honey and grilled peach take over the plate, leaving behind fresh young ginger in the finish.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Rich salted caramel, oak, leather, tobacco, freshly baked shortbread cookies, honey, mixed nuts, hint of pumpkin pie.
Palate:  Rich and thick mouthfeel, fruity with peach cobbler, pecan praline, baked pears, dates, dark chocolate, caramel syrup, cinnamon, allspice and toasted marshmallow.
Finish:  Long and damp with pepper, caramel, mint and honey.
Comments:  Another really lovely bourbon! Thick right out of the bottle, and thickens up even more with a bit of water. Complex, sweet, spicy, bit of oak but overall – really nicely balanced. A bit of water give it this ‘dusty bourbon’ vibe (if you’ve had 80’s glut bourbon, it reminds me of that). This might be my favorite Barrell Bourbon release yet!

Rating: Must Try/Must Buy

Stellum Black Rye

Stellum Black Rye
Cask Strength Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies

57.13% ABV
$100
Website
Stellum Black Rye
We would like to thank Stellum Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review.

What the Blender Says

Louisville, KY (December 7, 2021) – Earlier this year, Stellum™ Spirits launched its flagship Stellum™ Bourbon and Stellum™ Rye whiskeys to celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker. Today, the brand proudly introduces Stellum™ Black: a limited-release premium expression of the inaugural offerings, designed to carry the same classic, cask strength flavor profiles into a more refined, elegant, and complex blend.

Produced by Barrell Craft Spirits®, Stellum™ Spirits is the result of years of industry-leading innovation in American whiskey. The brand strives to improve the flavor, process and ideals of traditional American whiskeys, while underscoring the importance of nuance and polish in a paired down and minimalist setting.

Stellum™ Black reveals a natural evolution of the inaugural cask strength bourbon and rye whiskey blends, using a meticulous blending approach to layer older reserve barrels into the original blends. The result is something both entirely new and deeply familiar.

“For Stellum Black, we maintained the soul of Stellum while creating a new dimension of flavor by adding reserve barrels from our stocks,” said Joe Beatrice, Barrell Craft Spirits Founder. “We’ve refined this layering technique over time which produces whiskeys focused on both immediate flavor and a long-developed complexity. The result is an entirely new set of whiskeys that has its roots firmly planted in the inaugural whiskeys.”

Stellum Black Bourbon™ and Stellum Black Rye™ were distilled and aged in IN, KY and TN, and bottled at 109.22 proof (54.61% ABV) and 114.26 proof (57.13% ABV), respectively.
Stellum™ Black will be allocated nationwide and online via the Stellum™ website at www.stellum.com for the suggested retail price of $99 per 750ml bottle.

Stellum Black Rye is an evolution of the Stellum Rye flavor profile. Think of it as Stellum Rye in high-def. We used a meticulous blending approach to layer older reserve barrels into the original Stellum Rye blend. The result is a surprisingly mellow cask-strength rye whiskey combining iconic rye spice with a deep complexity that reveals new facets with every sip.

TASTING NOTES
Appearance: Marigold and Honey.
Nose: Bright notes of Ripe Blueberry and Green Jolly Rancher, balanced with warm aromas of dark brown sugar, and toasted almonds, and rounded out with something familiar like newspaper clippings.
Palate: Buttery and rich on the palate with flavors of chocolate mint, star anise, and sesame that leaves a finish of fresh dill and cracked black peppercorns.
Finish: Slow and warming; a full, well rounded experience.

With Water: The same bright nose with some fresh hay that balances with hot river rocks. A little green, a little salty, a little earthy. This is met with a taste that showcases the dry spices and toasted nuttiness of the first taste.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Fruity with green apples, peaches, pears, kiwi, mint, dill, tarragon, toasted orange zest and honeysuckle.
Palate:  Rich mouthfeel with a sharp pop of rye spice, mint, cinnamon, allspice, anise, pepper, vanilla, caramel, orange and honey.
Finish:  Long with cracked pepper, mint and citrus spice.
Comments:  A really delicious, spicy rye! I liked Stellum Bourbon over Stellum Rye, but I think I like this just as well as Stellum Black Bourbon. A bit of water thickens this pour up nicely, and brings out even more fruit with some mango coming through, along with peppermint. The water also tamps that sharp crack of spice (which I don’t mind), and does so in a way that it doesn’t lose the complexity.  When I imagine rye whiskey – this is it.

Rating: Must Try

Stellum Black Bourbon

Stellum Black Bourbon
Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskies

54.61% ABV
$100
Website
Stellum Black Bourbon
We would like to thank Stellum Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review.

What the Blender Says

Louisville, KY (December 7, 2021) – Earlier this year, Stellum™ Spirits launched its flagship Stellum™ Bourbon and Stellum™ Rye whiskeys to celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker. Today, the brand proudly introduces Stellum™ Black: a limited-release premium expression of the inaugural offerings, designed to carry the same classic, cask strength flavor profiles into a more refined, elegant, and complex blend.

Produced by Barrell Craft Spirits®, Stellum™ Spirits is the result of years of industry-leading innovation in American whiskey. The brand strives to improve the flavor, process and ideals of traditional American whiskeys, while underscoring the importance of nuance and polish in a paired down and minimalist setting.

Stellum™ Black reveals a natural evolution of the inaugural cask strength bourbon and rye whiskey blends, using a meticulous blending approach to layer older reserve barrels into the original blends. The result is something both entirely new and deeply familiar.

“For Stellum Black, we maintained the soul of Stellum while creating a new dimension of flavor by adding reserve barrels from our stocks,” said Joe Beatrice, Barrell Craft Spirits Founder. “We’ve refined this layering technique over time which produces whiskeys focused on both immediate flavor and a long-developed complexity. The result is an entirely new set of whiskeys that has its roots firmly planted in the inaugural whiskeys.”

Stellum Black Bourbon™ and Stellum Black Rye™ were distilled and aged in IN, KY and TN, and bottled at 109.22 proof (54.61% ABV) and 114.26 proof (57.13% ABV), respectively.
Stellum™ Black will be allocated nationwide and online via the Stellum™ website at www.stellum.com for the suggested retail price of $99 per 750ml bottle.

Stellum Black Bourbon is the next step in Stellum Bourbon’s evolution. By incorporating reserve barrels from our stocks with the original Stellum Bourbon blend, we created a bourbon that delivers robust flavor alongside profound complexity. The result is an expression both entirely new and deeply familiar, with roots firmly planted in Stellum Bourbon.

TASTING NOTES
Appearance: Warm amber.
Nose: Aromas explode from the glass in waves and really never stop in their intensity. First out of the glass is flowery vanilla, followed by orange creamsicle, caramel corn, and mixed peppercorns. As it sits for a few minutes bright cedar emerges followed by smoldering oak.
Palate: Sweet orange that has been lightly charred. Leather and the floral vanilla from the nose come forward next and are followed by cardamom, cedar, and a hint of spicy nuts that recedes into a sweet cinnamon.
Finish: Some dark chocolate taffy (think Tootsie Roll) and then leather-tobacco-cedar emerges. The finish goes on for a very long time and sits prickling the back of your tongue and roof of your mouth.
Tasted With 3 Drops of Water: Cinnamon and black pepper get a boost and the cedar becomes more prominent. The whiskey continues to prickle the back of the tongue and roof of your mouth and moves onto your cheeks.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Rich vanilla, milk chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, orange zest, oak, hint of clove and subtle dark fruit.
Palate:  Rich and creamy mouthfeel, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, hints of orange bitters, cinnamon, nutmeg and cracked pepper.
Finish:  Long and damp with cocoa, raw honey, pepper and oak.
Comments:  Another really solid blend. A bit of water thickens this dram up nicely and brings out more fruity notes along with amping up the chocolate. One critique I have is the label. The front of the label doesn’t say ‘Black’ on it (and the dark blue of Stellum Bourbon is pretty similar; in fact – when I had both bottles on my table, at a glance I couldn’t tell which was which). The back of the label says ‘Black’, but as dark as the original label is – make sure you pick up the right one (although you can’t go wrong with either, but I’d recommend the folks put the word ‘Black’ on the front of the bottle to make it more clear).

I’m a big fan of Stellum Bourbon – in fact in 2021, it was the only standard release (meaning not a limited edition or single barrel) I awarded a ‘Must Buy’. Maybe that created a high bar for me when I first tried this – as I really liked it, but wasn’t immediately sure if I liked it more than that.  Thankfully having picked up a couple bottles after receiving a sample and reviewing it, I still had some to compare against.  In a blind side-by-side, I preferred this – finding a lot in common, but this was a bit softer on the nose with hints of dark fruit, and the mouthfeel was a bit thicker. Basically – Stellum Bourbon with the volume turned up to 11. If you’re a fan of Stellum Bourbon, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a shot..

Rating: Must Try

Springbank 12 yr Cask Strength Batch 21 (October 2020)

Springbank 12 yr Cask Strength
Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Batch 21 – October 2020

56.1% ABV
$120-$130
Website
Springbank 12 yr cask strength batch 21

What the Distillery Says

DISCLAIMER: The following notes are what is listed as of December 2021, but refers to an older batch with a different mix of cask types. Shame that Springbank themselves don’t keep more current information (as well as batch history), but focusing my review on their whisky rather than their website management 🙂 

Our 12-year-old edition, always bottled at cask strength, is a wonderfully balanced dram that boasts a smooth buttery body and rich fruity palate. Add a drop of water to release milk chocolate and vanilla notes.

Our latest release*, bottled in January 2017, is 54.2% and the tasting notes are:

Nose: It’s reminiscent of walking in an autumn forest full of pine and chestnut trees, before returning home to the iodine of a Campbeltown malt and ending with a delicate hint of peat.
Palate: A gorgeous richness on the palate which is balanced between citrus marmalade on toast and caramelised toasted marshmallows, not forgetting flavours of vanilla and pepper. It’s a lip licking meaty dram.
Finish: A delicious, viscous, smooth liquid with a salty edge. It brings back memories of a ham joint which has been marinated in a rich honey sauce and slow baked in the oven.

Special shout out to Ben’s Whisky Blog and The Washback for detailing out the Springbank 12 yr Cask Strength batch differences!

Per sources such as these and others, Batch 21 is different with the types of casks uses comprising of sherry (45%), bourbon (25%), burgundy (25%) and port (5%).

What Gary Says

Nose:  Dark fruit, red wine notes, hint of sulfur and peat, smoked barbecue pork, tobacco, oak, brandied cherries.
Palate:  Cream mouthfeel, fruity with apricots, not quite ripe strawberries, cherries, ginger, cinnamon and pepper spice.
Finish:  Long and drying with dry sherry, red wine, ash and pepper.
Comments:  Trying this side-by-side again Springbank 12 yr Cask Strength batch 15, this is much darker in color, and the burgundy cask influence really stands out. It is very good, but just not in my wheelhouse as squarely as batch 15 is with that 70% sherry mix. A bit of water thickened things up, but didn’t tamp the edges like I had hoped. If you’re a fan of different wine cask finishes or maturations, this might be intriguing (and again – it is very good; not off putting – just not the ‘sherry bomb’ that you may have come to love in the majority of previous batches).

Rating: Stands Out/Must Try

Springbank 15 Year Old

Springbank 15 Year Old
Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky

46% ABV
$135-$150
Website
Springbank 15 Year

What the Distillery Says

Like a storm gathering off the Kintyre coast, our 15-year-old Springbank is dark and ominous, yet delicious. Best enjoyed after dinner or with your favourite cigar, this is a true classic.

Nose: Demerara sugar, dark chocolate, Christmas cake, almonds, toffee, oak.
Palate: Creamy, raisins, dark chocolate, figs, marzipan, brazil nuts and vanilla.
Finish: Oak and sherry notes sustain and mingle with hints of leather.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Thick and rich sherry bomb, dark fruit with oak, graham cracker, toffee, caramel, leather, molasses, wisps of sea air with just a hint of sulfur.
Palate:  Creamy mouthfeel, fruity with graham cracker and bitter chocolate, butterscotch, nutty earthiness with some soft pepper and baking spices, clove.
Finish:  Long and drying with vanilla, smoke and dark fruits.
Comments:  A solid Springbank for sure! Rich and intense, this has everything I love in a Springbank. Some water tamps the oak and brings the chocolate and toffee out of the shadows of the dark fruit – but don’t mistake that this drinks beautifully neat!

Rating: Must Try