Nose: Like Barrell Bourbon Batch 005 there is a little burn at first, however unlike Batch 005 after a few minutes it dissipates almost entirely leaving a full-bodied array of pleasant scents behind. Raisins and dark fruit are accented by cinnamon and a hint of citrus, with seasoned oak rounding things out. It’s rich and inviting, making for one of the best noses I’ve experienced in a while.
Palate: Raisins and dark fruit play nicely alongside cinnamon gum. Seasoned wood balances things, providing a prominent undertone throughout the mouth-coating and richly flavored palate. It’s hard to describe each one individually, but there is a depth of flavors here that pulls through quite prominently. For a bourbon that’s over 120 proof, it’s surprising how flavor-forward it is beyond the burn, making for an exceptional sip.
Finish: Sweet burnt brown sugar tames the cinnamon spice that carries over from the palate, and light seasoned oak notes round things out. A perfect amount of burn and aftertaste that stays true to the rest of the experience. Warming and oh so long, what I wish all whiskey finishes would be. Admittedly I may have said “wow” out loud a few times, causing my wife to question what I was so excited about.
Uniqueness: The company’s mantra is to provide a unique and different bourbon with every barrel proof batch. Interestingly, this bourbon shares similar roots with the company’s previous Batch 005 release. It comes from the same undisclosed distillery in Tennessee, shares the same mash bill, is only about 3 months older, and is about the same proof; however it was aged in a lower level of the rickhouse. While I enjoyed Batch 005 so much it made my Favorites of 2015 list, I have to say I actually like Batch 006 better.
Tasting them side by side I can pinpoint underlying similarities, but much like siblings, the two batches have come into their own as they’ve aged as the end result is two different bourbons. While Batch 005 is a delicious dose of spice, Batch 006 is much more mellow, providing a rich, deep flavor profile with accents of seasoned oak throughout. Despite Batch 005 and 006 being nearly identical in both origin and age, I actually noticed a good deal more wood influence with Batch 006. Like Batch 005, Batch 006 tastes unlike any other barrel proof bourbon I’ve had.
Value: $90 is a lot for just about any bourbon. While I found Batch 005 to be fair at that price, I find Batch 006 to be of greater value by comparison. While this bourbon’s origin is not overly exciting and it’s only eight and a half years old, that proves to be enough. It’s value lies very simply in the bourbon within the bottle, a bourbon made for drinking. By comparison, though it doesn’t necessarily taste like any of those in the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) specifically, the quality and experience are within the same range. As a result, I have no hesitation recommending it as an alternative for those unable to find a bottle of BTAC. To put it simply, if you happen to be searching for a high end bourbon at a high end price, I’m confident you will find it in Barrell Bourbon Batch 006. Act quickly though, as there were only about 5,460 bottles produced.
Overall: Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 is one of the best new bourbons I've tasted recently. An incredible nose followed by a richly complex palate and an exceptional finish make this a truly remarkable bourbon. I am and will continue to be a little skeptical of whether Barrell will be able to deliver high quality bourbons with every unique batch. However, as this is the second batch I’ve experienced, the company is now two for two in my book. Only time will tell, and with that in mind I highly recommend trying Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 before it’s too late.
To sum it up: Barrell Bourbon ups the ante with Batch 006, an exceptional experience from start to finish.
-Nick - Reviewed: 01/2016
4 - 5