Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Diageo's Orphan Barrel: Barterhouse 20
I've steered clear of Diageo's Orphan Barrel series since it didn't hold much appeal for me, but I recently sampled the second Orphan release, the 20 year old Barterhouse. This release is so limited that I saw it for sale at my local Walgreen's for $64.
Barterhouse comes from the Bernheim Distillery which means it was likely bourbon that was intended for IW Harper or Old Charter (See my older posts for more information on the Old Bernheim and New Bernheim Distilleries).
Barterhouse, 20 year old, 45.1% abv ($64)
The nose on this is delightful with lots of oak and wood polish. The palate is minerally, woody and very, very dry. It's a bit flat toward the end. The finish has big mineral notes.
The Orphan Barrel releases have been criticized for both cynical marketing and subpar, over oaked whiskey, but I liked this one. It's unusually dry and oaky, but I thought that made it interesting. Certainly, though, if you like your bourbon sweet, this one isn't for you. Hmm, maybe I'll go back and try some of those other orphans.