Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Thoughts: Barrell Bourbon Batch 006

Credit: Barrell

Barrell Craft Spirits is a non-distiller producer (i.e., a bottler) of sourced whiskeys and bourbons.  Their first release, the aptly named Batch 001, didn’t legally qualify as bourbon, but this one does.

 

Barrell Bourbon Batch 006 | 8 years, 6 months | 122.9 proof | $79.99

The nose is typical bourbon; no particular aroma stands out, but that’s not a bad thing.  The first sip is all cinnamon and baking spices; later tastes bring peanuts, which also comes across the nose once the bourbon has been sitting a bit.  The peanut flavor is characteristic of many Heaven Hill and Jim Beam products, but this is Tennessee bourbon.  I can’t identify the source, and Barrell isn’t talking.  Any way, it’s a fairly straightforward bourbon, and it’s very tasty.

Notably, this sure as hell doesn’t seem like 122.9 proof.  I usually need to warm the palate with something “softer” before trying such a high-proof whiskey, but this goes down silky smooth despite being my first and only drink of the evening.

Overall, it’s excellent and perhaps dangerously drinkable for such a high proof.  I wish I had a bottle.

 

Thank you to Joe Beatrice (the owner of Barrell) for the sample, which was provided without his knowing I have a blog.

On reviewing whiskey

Some whiskey

If you’ve read this blog for a while (there must be one of you, right?), you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of whisk(e)y reviews.  Pretty much every whiskey-oriented blog you’ll come across (see, e.g., here, here, and here) is replete with them.  For some, it’s pretty much all they do.  And yet I’ve held off.

My reasoning for not reviewing whiskey is twofold.  First and foremost, reviews of foodstuffs are entirely subjective.  What pleases my palate might not suit yours.  That’s why Doritos continue to exist and sell despite my finding them abhorrent, and also why some people refuse to accept that Brussels sprouts are delicious.  So, objectively speaking, my thoughts on a particular whiskey aren’t of any significant value.

Further, I’m not much of a tasting notes guy.  It’s not often that I’ll find “barbecue sauce, hints of ginger, lemon zest, grapefruit, and oak” in a sip of whiskey, and yet the internet abounds with such flowery language.  I’m not suggesting that these flavors can’t be found (okay, maybe a little), only that I don’t often find them.  So my reviews, were I to do them, would be decidedly simpler than most.

And yet people (normal people, not other whiskey geeks) frequently ask me about my favorite whiskey.  This is probably because I am the only whiskey geek that a lot of people know.  Even people who frequent whiskey bars or drink whiskey regularly don’t necessarily nerd out on the history or the production techniques, so when I inadvertently start espousing what (little) knowledge I have, they soon ask for my opinions and recommendations. I usually prattle off something very generic and nonspecific, and they seem disappointed.

This blog isn’t dedicated to all things whiskey, so those normal people are probably fairly representative of my audience. And since normal people seem to want my opinion on various whiskeys, I feel like I should deliver. And so I shall, but not in the typical whiskey blog fashion.  Instead, expect honest opinions, a limited set of descriptors, and practically zero use of the word ‘epic.’ It’s just whiskey, after all.

The Highlight Reel: 29 February – 06 March

Screw you, leap year. You have the audacity to add an extra day without making my employer pay me an additional 0.274%?! I declare shenanigans!

Booze

Apparently, this was DC’s unofficial Whisk(e)y Week, with two whiskey festivals taking place only a few days apart and a spate of events in between to prevent one’s liver from ever recovering. For reasons that are not at all clear to me, WhiskyFest (the bigger, more expensive of the two) was on a Wednesday, which basically eliminated any chance of my attending. Whisky Live, however, is always on Saturday, and after two years of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to go.

dc-vip-16-9

The VIP package got us in 30 minutes ahead of the crowds, which actually weren’t too bad, and included a lovely, cut crystal Glencairn glass and access to a special tasting area with more whisky (because 150 options isn’t enough). Apart from a single barrel Four Roses poured for me by their new master distiller, I wasn’t blown away by anything in the VIP area. Some of the general access bourbons were fantastic, though.

A photo posted by @thebourbonsource on

Jared at The Bourbon Source really blew everyone else out of the water with his selection, but it wasn’t exactly a fair fight—he brought a bunch of dusties whose rarity alone provides a special allure.

Joe from Barrell Bourbon had a similarly impressive spread and excellent product to boot. I’ve been clinging onto a bottle of their Batch 001 for about a year, and now I want all of the others. Curse you, Joe!

https://www.instagram.com/p/-SH1ZSJ7PY/?taken-by=brennewhisky

And I finally got to try Brenne, a French single malt whisky about which I’d heard many good things. It lived up to the hype, and now I want these, too. And that’s how they get ya…

The event was so much fun that it warrants its own post, so I’ll get right on that.

Food

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCRRpK8C0-P/?taken-by=thegundude

With The Missus out of town on Friday, I decided to try something a bit out of the ordinary. No, not the chocolate chip cookies: dinner at a gun shop. That’s right, the local gun shop—which has a sign outside that reads “Guns and Coffee”—hosts a free spaghetti dinner on the first Friday of the month. It’s too off the wall for me not to try, and it was actually quite good.

Because showing up to #dinner empty handed is rude. #latergram

A photo posted by Edward (@boozefoodfit) on

My having been raised well, I couldn’t show up empty handed, so I threw together some chocolate chip cookies beforehand. I’m toying with my recipe, and I can’t decide whether the changes were a net improvement, but everyone there seemed to enjoy. The cookies were gone before I left.

Oh, and I ate McDonald’s on my way back from Whisky Live, because it was the only thing open near me. I mean, apart from Taco Bell, which is farther away and even worse. I feel dirty.

Fitness

A long time ago, I was a triathlete. Not a good one, mind you, but a triathlete all the same. Then time and budget constraints got in the way, so I quit swimming and evolved into a guy who just runs and bikes a lot, but never in conjunction. This week, for the first time in years, that changed.

In the midst of a long, lung-burning trainer session, my apparently oxygen-deprived brain decided that a short run off the bike was just what the doctor ordered. The next 30 minutes of cranking the pedals to steadily increasing fatigue wasn’t enough to convince me otherwise, so when my bike workout was done, I quickly changed into running gear and sped out the door. Somehow it wasn’t terrible. It actually felt…good. I just might try that again. In fact, I might even go for a swim. Maybe.

Interwebs of Intrigue