The first thing you notice on the nose is the smell of Rye and nothing else. I didn’t take a drink and just let it sit for a minute or so and then nosed it again. There was a fruitiness that I could not distinguish and a mild smell of ethanol. I let it sit again for a minute or so and then I sensed a spiced caramel.
The nose is very complex and changes frequently.
The palate was not what I expected at all, nor what I had read about in reviews for Batch 26. I am getting a spiced Rye heat on the first few sips. No other flavors were distinguishable with the first two sips. Nosing it again the caramel is very strong. Sips 3 and 4 were smoother and had a long spicy heat finish. I am getting pepper spice on the front end, mild fruit notes, and none of the caramel, vanilla, or molasses that other reviews said were prominent. I’m guessing (and hoping) this will open up in the same way Barrell Dovetail opened up a few days later during its 2nd pouring.
[Update] Still during the first pouring... It is starting to open up and I am getting some of those caramel notes on the palate.
It's another day and I'm having my second tasting of Barrell Bourbon batch 26. It has opened up more. This is a quintessential blend of 9, 10, and 11-year-old barrels; balanced, rich, and not overpowering in any one area. Just bourbon as it was originally meant to be. I was hoping for more flavor, but I guess that's why they produce the Armida, Seagrass, and Dovetail finishes. This is definitely a neat drinker. It would probably be VERY good in cocktails too, but at $79 a bottle, I'll just drink it neat.