Editor’s Note: This product was provided to us as a review sample by Blind Barrels. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Subscription boxes seemed to explode in popularity at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Suddenly, a trip to the liquor store became a risky feat, and businesses began to explore options outside of the norm to maintain regular customers and establish new ones. Within the past 18 months, Bobby DeMars has established Blind Barrels, a subscription-based blind tasting experience meant to educate and focus solely on the craft whiskey industry and less on reputation, cost, and branding.
Delivered in sparsely designed bottles and labels, Blind Barrels provide a handy tasting guide to really hone the palate as you taste. The exercise is helpful for both beginner whiskey consumers and connoisseurs who wish to challenge their expertise. It is also a fun and creative way to explore craft distilleries that may otherwise go unnoticed. The whiskeys are simply labeled “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D,” and are a broad selection of bourbon and rye, with widely varying flavor profiles.
When DeMars and his team decide on their line-ups, they test the distillery samples blind to remove the urge to accommodate popular or familiar brands, choosing instead the best variation for a bold and fulfilling tasting and often opening the door for lesser known or newer craft distilleries. The box I blind tasted included whiskey samples from Black Button Distilling, King’s County Distillery, Middle West Spirits, and 291 Colorado Whiskey.
The Blind Barrel subscription plan offers both one quarterly delivery starting at a $59.99 recurring charge, and an annual plan starting at $199.99 with a frequency of four quarterly deliveries. The Tasting Table is the guide provided with information directing the palate to the different elements of the whiskey flavor profile. Also included in the delivery is a QR Code that will direct the taster to the Reveal Page, offering details about the spirits including mash bill, ABV, official tasting notes, and the craft distillery responsible for the whiskey.
I had a lot of fun with this box. I realized while tasting that my palate can become bored at times, and the challenge of a true blind test opens the doors to exploring new expressions without having to think about where it originated and without any preconceived notions about the distillery itself.
It is important to challenge the palate and step outside one’s normal tasting routine, to experience a broad range of whiskeys from different areas and allow oneself a bit of fun in the process. Blind Barrels would be a great game night addition; to include a few friends with an interest in developing their own range and experience new and exciting whiskeys from all over the country.
User Review2.88 (26 votes)
Jerry Jenae Sampson
Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.