Whiskey Review: Barrell Bourbon Batch 016

Oh, Barrell. You’ve got me over a barrel: Your products are so high-quality, I just can’t stay away!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve been lucky enough to review a number of Barrell whiskies for this site. Recently, I adored Batch 015, and I sometimes shed a tear for the passing of my bottle of Batch 006. One of the things I love about Barrell is their consistency, both in taste and timing; it thrills me to think that one day the zero in front of the number will go away and there will be a batch 100+. Hopefully in my lifetime!

To catch us up, Barrell is a producer of well-curated craft spirits (in addition to bourbon, they also put out rye, whiskey, and rum) aged at cask-strength. In other words, high-end high-proof. And I love them for it. I’m not the only one, too: One of my fellow reviewers was a fan of Batch 014, and Adventures in Whiskey gave this batch 8.5/10.

Barrell Batch 016 has a mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley and is a blend of barrels that range from 9 years and 9 month to 15 years old (the bottle indicates 9 years and 9 months). It is bottled at 105.8 proof. It was distilled and aged in Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky in American white oak. Batch 016 retails at about $80.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 016

Barrell Bourbon Batch 016 (image via Carin Moonin/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Barrell Bourbon Batch 016

Vital Stats: Selection of 9 years 9 months, 11 and 15 year-old barrels; 105.8 proof cask strength bottling; mash bill of corn, rye, and malted barley; about $80 a bottle.

Appearance: Yellowish golden, toffee, the color of white bread toast crusts.

Nose: Fruity and enticing. A little like sticking your nose into an assortment of Jelly Belly jellybeans. Also: Honeydew Melon, spearmint, a bag of Nestle chocolate chips, leather oil, and cherries.

Palate: It has like an herbal or cinnamon taste, almost like a fennel but not overwhelmingly aquavit-like. More herbal refreshment than richness. It’s smooth and, sweet, with a citrus finish, but a subtle one. Think mandarin orange peel versus freshly squeezed orange juice. Also some highly carbonated ginger ale. Sometimes whiskey has an effervescent mouthfeel to me, regardless of how high the alcohol is. This is fairly high-proof, and brings that quality, but it doesn’t always happen. But it feels like fun carbonation, like Pop Rocks, and not the fizzy feel of something gone bad. It’s quite good, really.

The Takeaway

The barrels that make up Batch 016 were chosen for a distinct orange note. I like how it didn’t scream the flavor, but it was more of a suggestion—-at least on my palate. I did get fruit, though: Autumn, and it reminds me of crisp apples. Is it possible to compliment hot sawdust? Because this is sort of what this is. And I mean that in a good way. I will say it’s not one of my favorite Barrells I’ve had, but it is strong and consistent and while it doesn’t totally set my soul on fire, it doesn’t set my mouth on fire, either.

User Review
4.11 (9 votes)


Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor...