Tasting Notes: Barrell Bourbon Batch 31 and a Review of the Glencairn Copita Whiskey Glass

You know how Amazon will suggest things? Well, it suggested earlier this week that I buy some Glencairn Copitas, so I bought two. They come with or without the cool tops that keep the whiskey from evaporating. Compared to the Hokus Pokus Copita from UrbanBar in the UK, the Glencairn Copita has a longer stem and a wider opening, with the wider opening being the exact same size as a standard Glencairn, because I put the top that came with the Copita on a Glencairn and it fit like a glove. However, this is not a stemmed Glencairn glass but has the right Copita shape. The Glencairn Copita costs a little bit more than the Hokus Pokus one. If you don’t live near a Hokus Pokus, their copita, known as the Distillery Taster, can be purchased from UrbanBar here.

I decided to test drive the Glencairn Copita with one of Barrell’s more recent batches, batch 31. It has a six year age statement, that being the youngest bourbon in the blend, and has Barrell’s 15 and 16 year old Cascade Hollow Tennessee bourbon, blended with some 99% corn (Kentucky?) bourbon barrels, some Kentucky or MGP (I am thinking Kentucky, probably Heaven Hill) wheated bourbon barrels, and some 10 year old MGP barrels. A very interesting blend of bourbons using four different grains that came out to 111.2 proof. This bottle retails between $90 and $100.

On the nose, this copita does a good job of concentrating the aromas of the whiskey, and batch 31 has a very nice nose – the older (and very recognizable to me) Tennessee bourbon is very present on the nose, with its oaky nutty notes, but it is accompanied by tropical fruits, vanilla creme, caramelized brown sugar. The color is a nice solid amber and there is a nice thick film and legs on the swirl. This copita’s long stem makes it easy to look at the color and swirl of a whiskey, so it is very functional from that standpoint. On the palate, the tropical and dark fruits really start to dominate, along with some green peppercorn, some light oak, a light dusting of baking spice, a hint of clove, and a hint of English pipe tobacco. This is a really complex bourbon, but is very smooth and easy to drink and savor. On the finish, the tropical and dark fruits take on a candied note, and the clove, pipe tobacco, cocoa, and oak notes hover in the background for a long and lingering finish.

I really like this bourbon and am absolutely glad I splurged on it. I continue to be impressed what Joe Beatrice is putting out there with his Barrell and Stellum lines.

As to the Glencairn Copita, it is an exceptional technical whiskey nosing and tasting glass. The Hokus Pokus/UrbanBar copita has a smaller opening to better concentrate the nose of a whiskey, the longer stem and slightly sturdier construction of the Glencairn Copita makes it easier to handle and look at the color of the whiskey. Ultimately, you really can’t go wrong with either glass, although the Hokus Pokus glass is less expensive. I really wish I could mash up both copitas – longer stem, but with the smaller opening. That would be the ultimate copita in my mind. But, one thing is for sure – since I added copitas to my bar in May of 2020, they are my go to glass when writing reviews for this blog aka tasting a new whiskey for the first time. The stem and the tulip shape just make them better for technical tastings than any other whiskey glass, and the history behind the copita just goes to show that sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

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