Table Of Contents
Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Wyoming, New York, Texas, Ohio, Maryland
Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024 Review
Barrell Bourbon’s New Year blend is one of the boldest annual projects in American whiskey. In 2022, the blend featured distillate from seven different states. In 2023, Barrell one-upped itself and added Maryland bourbon to the mix, bringing the count up to a staggering eight states of origin. The 2024 edition matches that mark, marrying a mind-boggling list of components with the following age statements:
- Kentucky Bourbon: 8 years old
- Indiana Bourbon: 5, 6, and 9 years old
- Tennessee Bourbon: 8 and 15 years old
- Wyoming Bourbon: 11 years old
- New York Bourbon: 5 years old
- Texas Bourbon: 5 years old
- Ohio Bourbon: 5 years old
- Maryland Bourbon: 5 and 6 years old
As with previous batches, the exact sources and proportions for 2024’s New Year blend aren’t disclosed. However, a bit of cross-referencing yields educated guesses on a few; for example, Wyoming Whiskey is the only distillery in that entire state with distillate ticking above 10 years.
Secret percentages aside, Barrell Bourbon does disclose the blend’s derived mashbill: 72 percent corn, 22 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley, and 1 percent wheat.
As a non-distilling producer, Barrell has built a reputation on finishes and blends that sometimes exceed the sum of their parts. Let’s see how its latest New Year release — likely one of the most audacious we’ll see from any American producer this year — stacks up.
Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024: Stats and Availability
Barrell Bourbon New year 2024 has a total release size of 7,032. (Kudos to the producer for displaying the bottle count right on the front label!) It’s a limited release that only crops up once a year, but it’s not generally considered one of the highest-end (aka “price hiked”) bottles to hunt in the American whiskey calendar. I routinely see this release available for the suggested retail price, which this year was listed at $85 on the brand’s website. (It has since sold out there.) A number of other retailers carry it for between $85 and $90. The lack of a big age statement likely contributes to prices staying somewhat in check. (After all, the youngest components are only five years old.)
Given its increasing popularity and relative scarcity, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some retail markups. But don’t expect to pay two or three-times suggested retail on this.
Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024 Review
As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.
The nose starts remarkably sweet, with notes of French vanilla ice cream, nougat, lemon pound cake, and store-bought fruit cake. Light, rye-forward spice — there is a decently high proportion of rye in this derived mashbill — follows, including candied ginger and cardamom.
Returns to the glass highlight the lightly fruity, cake-like sweetness — predominantly yellow cake with vanilla glaze. A light touch of green oak hits toward the end of these subsequent sniffs.
There’s certainly a wide breadth of aromas in this blend. While the list of components might seem chaotic at first glance, the nose certainly carries enough balance to be interesting without a lot of discord.
I did find myself searching for some of those older components here, and overall I think a touch more deep oak influence could have added more depth. More prominent scents of tobacco, leather, and varnish would be fascinating complements to the cakey notes described above.
I was looking for more wood influence on the nose, and I didn’t have to wait long at all. The palate opens with oak-forward sweetness, along with dark caramel, milk chocolate, and rich toffee.
Those decadent, sweet characteristics are bolstered by small pops of fruit that extend through to the mid- and back-palates: syrup-soaked pear, Honeycrisp apple, and ripe plum. Spice comes through more as an accent to the fruit than as standalone notes, like cinnamon and ginger sprinkled atop a compote.
While I found myself searching for more depth on the nose (presumably from the more highly aged components), with this blend, the palate presents as a puzzle with virtually all the right pieces. There are few if any standalone, grand slam flavors; on the tongue, Barrell Bourbon’s newest New Year seems like an exercise in delivering surprising harmony.
A lengthy finish is almost as unexpected as it is welcome. Spice makes a booming return, building up and over the sweet elements for an ending that is more hot candy than lemon cake. It’s almost refreshingly punchy, that high(ish) rye content lifting us out of confectionary range and into an altogether bolder realm.
Barrell Bourbon New Year 2024 Rating
I have yet to try a Barrell Bourbon New Year bottling I didn’t enjoy, and even then, 2024 exhibits a slight uptick in quality. The 2024 release has depth and variety one might expect with so many blend components while also showcasing the brand’s penchant for harmony at multiple points of the drinking experience. More highly aged components may have benefited the nose, but the palate and finish certainly help this whiskey leave a lasting impression. Too bad we need to wait a year for the next version.