Sourced whiskey has developed a bad reputation in the American Whiskey World. It’s often associated with fanciful marketing stories of the far off past, but scarce on any details about where and how the actual stuff inside the bottle is made. Almost the opposite of the independent bottlers you see in Scotland, which often have as large of a reputation as the powerhouse distilleries.
Enter Joe Beatrice and Barell Bourbon. Transparency is the name of the game here. He is completely open about the fact that he is just a blender and bottler. The goal is to create a unique product that stands on its own, just like those Independent Bottlers. And in a world where age statements are dropping dramatically from labels left and right, the age statement is front and center and keeps climbing. And he keeps winning awards.
No sense in bottling it if the whiskey isn’t any good.
Though each batch varies there are two constants. Each bottle is Barrel Strength. This is whiskey straight out of the Barrel uncut by water. High Proof Spirits. The second is the quality. No sense in bottling it if the whiskey isn’t any good. Everything else they can tell you they will.
Batch 6 is 8-year-old Bourbon distilled in Tennessee and aged in Kentucky, which already makes it unique. Joe can’t legally tell you where it’s distilled but with only two large scale distilleries in the state and a mashbill of 70% corn, 25% Rye and 5% barley it’s probably being made at George Dickel. And He recently moved all of their aging to the warehouses at the Old Taylor Distillery, which is different from the old Taylor brand which the distillery doesn’t own the right to. The Bourbon world is weird.
So we’ve got a big ballsy bourbon that has coated ripe dark cherries with a layer of dusty, earthy nuttiness reminiscent of some of the best stuff from Willet and Heaven Hill. It’s a massive flavor that drinks far more mellow than it’s 122.9 Proof would suggest. It’s a great reminder that there’s more to the magic of a spirit than marketing and who owns the still. Sometimes, there’s a magic that needs that outside touch. As long as you’re honest about it.