In the months prior to this writing, I was exposed to two very good oak-dominant bourbons: Barrell Vantage and 2XO - The Phoenix Blend. After letting the most recent purchase of 2XO open up a bit, I decided to do a side-by-side of these very good whiskeys. This comparaison is high level, so if you are looking for more detailed notes, check out the complete reviews of Vantage and 2XO.
First of all, Barrel Vantage and 2XO The Phoenix Blend are delicious whiskeys, but one is the clear winner in the taste category. Barrell Vantage is a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys finished in Mizunara, French, and toasted American oak barrels while 2XO is a double barrel blended Kentucky straight bourbon.
Vantage: 114.44 / 2XO: 104
Vantage: $79.99 / 2XO: $99.99
2XO. 2XO is certainly spicier on the nose with a stronger blend of spice and oak. It has a more robust aroma than Vantage which is evident as soon as you uncork the bottles.
Vantage. Vantage is rich and decadent with a more complex palate and better mouth feel. It’s an exceptionally well-balanced blend of spice, oak, and sweetness.
Vantage: When I reviewed 2XO and Vantage seperatly, I rated 2XO with a slightly better finish. However, after doing a side-by-side, the finish on Barrell Vantage is the clear winner. I need to revisit my initial reviews.
Both of these whiskeys are very good and worth a try. If you are looking for a more oak and spice-centric bourbon, you may like 2XO better. However, Barrell Vantage is the clear way to go if you are looking for a more balanced mix of traditional bourbon features with a great mouth feel. It doesn't hurt that it's $20 less expensive either.
Smell IS taste. I am just a guy who has been hit with the bourbon bug and who has come to the conclusion that life is too short to drink average tasting bourbons. Go Gators!
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