Last November Hokus Pokus bought a barrel of 14 year old Barrell Bourbon Single Barrel. Since then, Barrell has released their last three batches of bourbon all with 14 year old Cascade Hollow bourbon from Tennessee as a component. Last year’s and this year’s Single Barrel picks from Hokus are this wonderful juice. Tasting it again separately from the Four Roses and other casks potentially being blended with it for the standard releases, there is a reason Barrell Bourbon’s quality has grown so much-the underlying Tennessee bourbon that is the constant component of their blends has gotten amazingly good. Barrell’s job used to be to find bourbons that would blend well with the Tennessee bourbon they source to make something good. Now that this 14 year old bourbon is pretty much a constant in their releases, Barrell’s job is now not to screw up the Tennessee bourbon they use.
Only 87 bottles were derived from this one barrel; pretty low yield but not surprising given the age. This batch weighs in at a healthy 113.53 proof.
The whiskey is a beautiful light mahogany, just as a bourbon of this age, uncut and unfiltered, should be. Thick oily legs on the swirl. On the nose, caramel, leather, oak, and baked pies. On the palate, the caramel turns to vanilla extract, oak, and English Pipe Tobacco, with a nutty baklava with cinnamon in the background. There is also a honeysuckle note in there right before the cinnamon and oak dance together on the finish. Lovely mouthfeel that is syrupy but not overdone that dries just enough on the finish without being too dry. I usually keep water or another chaser nearby when tasting cask strength whiskey because the alcohol astringency will eventually dry my palate.
I have a chaser but I haven’t used it this evening.
This is a very elegant bourbon with tons of complex flavor. I wish it was colder so I could sit beside my lit fireplace and smoke a bowl of Balkan Sasiesni in one of my Peterson pipes while sipping this.
At $100 a bottle, this is about $25 more than your average Barrell bourbon release. However, this is awfully good and, for me, definitely worth the money.