Barrell Vantage Review: A Sultry First Pour

Review by Mark Pringle |

87 Highly Rated Bourbon General Review of Barrell Vantage

Barrell Vantage is a sultry bourbon that, as you get deeper into the tasting experience, starts to even out and becomes more and more enjoyable. So, don’t base your thoughts on the first pour. This blend of French Oak, Toasted American Oak, and Japanese Mizunara Oak finished straight bourbon is an excellent addition to the Barrell trifecta, which has now become a well-composed quartet. Here’s my review.

Barrell Vantage Bourbon

Rating: 87


Ratings breakdown based on a 100 point scale.

  • 90-100 Exceptional
  • 80-89 Very Good
  • 70-79 Average
  • 60-69 Below Average
  • 50-60 Drain Pour

Detailed Tasting Notes

Nose Review - Rating: 85

The first thing you notice with the nose of Barrell Vantage is a charming toasted oak and spicy incense aroma. You get some caramelized sugar, crème brûlée, and vanilla as you dig deeper into the fragrance. The aroma overlaps a very light ethanol smell with a lovely subtle richness. The baking spices are also there throughout the nosing—light Honey toasted oak too.

Palate Review - Rating: 88

The palate of Barrell Vantage was a little unusual at the beginning. What do I mean? Well, it was very light tasting; however, it was oily. I usually do not experience that oily tongue feeling with bourbons that, ones might say, have a "bright" tasting experience. This is my first pour from the bottle, and I would not refer to it as smooth, at least early on. On the initial pours, this bourbon is very tannic and has a sharpness leaning more towards a non-bourbon American whiskey. Very woody with a slight sweetness; mildly sweet caramelized oak. I am still shocked by the oiliness.

As you get deeper into the tasting experience, all supplementary notes seem to fade to the background, and toasted honey oak becomes the theme for both the nose and palate. Additionally, as you get deeper into the tasting experience, the flavor becomes smoother and more seductive. Barrell Vantage lures you in slowly, subtly and before you realize it, has you entranced by its richness and sweet, subtle oak nuances.

Finish Review - Rating: 85

The finish is very long and hot, featuring honey-toasted oak sweetness in the beginning. Later, I experienced more of an earthy black pepper flavor in the finish.

Uniqueness Review - Rating: 88

I feel as though I have a broad base of different types of whiskeys and I cannot think of a bourbon with this profile. Barrell Craft Spirit whiskeys are always a little different.

Value Review - Rating: 86

That value landscape of American whiskeys is constantly evolving; or should I say the prices are increasing. Having said this, I am very happy with the price point of Barrell's flagship quartet.

Author: Mark Pringle
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!
My External Website (External Website Opens in New Window)


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