Barrell Dovetail (123.34 proof)

Here I’ve put together a review for Barrell’s Dovetail–and truly unique bottling.  I recently reviewed both Barrell Bourbon Batch 024, and Barrell Rye Batch 003 after Jay and I sat down with Will Schragis from Barrell for an episode of Weekly Whiskey.  It was great to go through the three products with Will, and hear about them in great depth.  Check out the episode below to hear a proverbial boatload about Barrell Craft Spirits.


John H.




October 13th, 2020

The folks are Barrell Craft Spirits set out to create the most delicious, and evidently the most unique, expressions on the market.  Dovetail is created by utilizing a combination of Rum, Port, and Dunn Vineyards Cabernet casks to finish their whiskey–then blending three products to make something special, if not slightly crazy.

Accolades received:

  • CHAIRMAN’S TROPHY at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge – 2020

  • TOP 100 SPIRITS (97 POINTS) at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge – 2020

  • Double Gold (96 POINTS) at the New York International Spirits Competition – 2020

  • Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition – 2019

  • Gold (Whiskey: Barrel Finished category) at Whiskies of the World – 2019

  • Whisky Advocate rating of 90

Barrell Dovetail (photo: Barrell Craft Spirits)

Barrell Dovetail (photo: Barrell Craft Spirits)

As always, before I share my tasting note and thoughts on this particular whiskey, I like to share with you what the brand has to say about it.  The following is from the Barrell Craft Spirits website:

Dovetail is blended to highlight some of our favorite flavors. Woody bourbon; terroir driven Dunn Cabernet; toasted French oak; Late Bottled Vintage Port pipes; black strap molasses casks; all working in tandem to create a buttery and deep whiskey as unique as it is delicious.

I’m ready to dive into this unique expression.  Let’s go!

Barrell Dovetail 123.34 proof

Barrell Dovetail 123.34 proof

Tasting Notes…

Nose – Syrupy, Christmasy, & rich. Maple. Sweet grapes. Sugar cane. Rum. Heavy vanilla rolling around with pancake syrup. White chocolate and nutmeg.

Taste – Heavy on the palate in a good luxurious way. Sweet and strong, the ethanol is present but not overpowering. This is every bit a holiday pour—wow. Big fat vanilla with fruit and honey glaze. Spices working around baked goods. Pastry made with golden syrup, rum, and Royal icing drizzled over.

Finish – Long, rolling, and sweet. It evolves as the rum influenced dark vanilla and charred sugars allow the oak and grape to express themselves. After a long while this commutes back toward a more traditional bourbon finish where the caramel and oak play a role until they roll off gently.

Bourbon Finder Grade: B+

Final thoughts…

Whew!  This isn’t an everyday sipper for me, and I mean that in a good way.  Reach for a pour of Barrell Dovetail around the holidays or a special occasion, because this decadent pour checks a lot of boxes when you’re in the mood for a hell of a nightcap.

TheBourbonFinder thanks Barrell Craft Spirits for graciously providing a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

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