These Cask-Strength Bourbons and Ryes Are Perfect on the Rocks


4. Barrell Bourbon

Though Barrell Craft Spirits has a wide array of whiskies and rums, its flagship has always been bourbon. Technically a blend of straight bourbons (so designated because the sources of the different liquids are in multiple states), each batch is unique by design, with Barrell’s blending team aiming to showcase varied flavors. The just-released Batch 30 includes bourbons from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Wyoming, aged between 5 and 15 years. It highlights notes of cider, herbs, flowers, and pumpkin pie. Barrell Bourbon is always bottled at cask strength; Batch 30 is a very precise 117.32 proof, or 58.66 percent ABV.


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A bottle of Tumblin’ Dice Single Barrel.
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5. Tumblin’ Dice Single Barrel

Made at MGP Distillery in Indiana—source of many a bourbon and rye—and bottled by Proof & Wood Ventures, this bourbon offers a subtly tweaked flavor profile (and proof) from bottle to bottle, thanks to its single-barrel status. It’s always rye-forward, made from a mashbill of 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley, and aged at least 5 years. The proof varies between 54.5 percent and 59.5 percent, but bold flavors of spice, spearmint, nuts, and citrus are consistent.


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A bottle of Four Gate River Kelvin Rye.
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6. Four Gate River Kelvin Rye

The duo behind Four Gate, Bob D’Antoni, and Bill Straub, focus on sourcing top-quality whiskies and finishing them in a variety of special barrels to create one-of-a-kind flavors. Releases have ranged from the sherry-and-rum cask-finished Kelvin Collaboration I (11 years old and 61.7 percent ABV) to Ruby Rye Springs (7 years old and 56.7 percent ABV), and much more. But occasionally a whiskey will be so spectacular on its own that the company decides not to finish it, bottling it as is. This is the case with the recent release of the second batch of River Kelvin Rye (8 years old and 56.5 percent ABV). Every release is barrel proof and limited to no more than just a couple thousand bottles or so.



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