Review: Barterhouse 20 Years Old Bourbon Whiskey

Category: Kentucky bourbon whiskey

Origin: ?

Bottling: Diageo

ABV: 45.1%

Cost: $75 for 75cl

Score: 85/100

Barterhouse-Bottle-Lo-Res

What they say:

Twenty years in American Oak will make your average spirit a bit mellow. Take all the fight out. Well this here is no ordinary spirit, and twenty years is long enough to pick up a trick or two. For one barrel in particular, it was long enough to develop the gift of a silver tongue. The old rickhouse hands had it written off as a rumor. A character so smooth, it could clean out the card sharps and take the shirt off a travelling salesman’s back.

But the rumors were true. And when the chips are in, a smooth operator can be mighty persuasive indeed. One sip of Barterhouse Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and you just might find yourself forgiving Robert Johnson for trading his soul to the very devil himself.

Tasting notes include warm biscuits and buttercream, with spice and brown sugar in the finish.

Barterhouse 20 Year Old Bourbon has been released as part of Diageo’s Orphan Barrel series. Distilled at the New Bernheim Distillery, the barrels were stored at the famous Stitzel-Weller distillery, and bottled at George Dickel in Tennessee. A uniquely dry and oaky style of bourbon.

Barterhouse20yo

What I say:

Dram #4 at the WOLS Edinburgh Whisky Blog World Tour Tasting! was another US offering, this time the Barterhouse 20 Years Old Bourbon from Diageo’s Orphan Barrel project.

Colour:

Dark orange/amber gold (11/20), slow heavy tears

Nose:

Deep vanilla essence, acetone (nail polish remover), furniture polish, antique wood, caramel and toffee oak wood

Taste:

Vanilla and toffee, chewy, butterscotch, fudge, cocoa, oak, dry cinnamon powder, freshly grated nutmeg, almond oil and black pepper spice

Finish:

Medium-short, almonds and spiced cinnamon

Overall:

Interesting and unusual, plenty of well-aged wood but with also a cloying syrupy vanilla that becomes almost savoury in depth. I’m not sure anyone was sold on the overly-gimmicky packaging but at least the Bourbon inside this Orphan Barrel bottling was pretty good.