Barrell Dovetail Bourbon Review Header

Barrell Dovetail Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Bob Bennett1 Comment


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. Dovetail took almost a year to get right, from blending to labeling, all coming together in a seemingly perfect point.

– Barrell Craft Spirits
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Barrell Dovetail Bourbon

  • DISTILLER: Produced by Barrell Craft Spirits
  • MASH BILL: Undisclosed
  • AGE: A blend of a 10-year-old whiskey distilled in Indiana finished in Dunn Vineyards Cabernet barrels and an 11-year-old bourbon distilled in Tennessee finished in black strap rum casks and LBV Port Pipes
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 122.9 (61.45% ABV)
  • MSRP: $80

NOSE: Butterscotch Candy  |  Leather  |  Wood  |  Stone Fruit  | Old Books

TASTE: Butterscotch Candy  |  Stone Fruit  |  Black Pepper  |  Medium viscosity

FINISH: Caramel  |  Black Pepper  |  Medium Length  |  Light Heat

SHARE WITH: Everyone.  Although Dovetail does have some heat on the finish, there’s more subtlety than one would expect from a whiskey with such a high proof.  It’s not as overwhelming as many cask-strength whiskeys.  For those that are fans of finished whiskeys, this will be a huge hit.

WORTH THE PRICE: This is at a price point I’m often hesitant about, but I know others aren’t.  Its in-line with the majority of Barrell’s releases outside their Craft Spirits Series.  For me, this is definitely worth the price.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle.  At this price point, I always recommend trying a pour first, but you won’t be disappointed picking up a bottle.

OVERALL: Barrell Dovetail is another #DrinkCurious story for me.  I have never been a fan of cask finished whiskeys.  I’ve never bought a bottle of finished whiskey and every time I’ve tried one I’ve been less than impressed.  Then I tried this.

I was surprised that the whiskey was more honey in color than a deeper amber in the glass, as the age, finishing and proof lead me to believe it would be a much darker pour.  The nose on this is fabulous!  I’ve had great whiskeys, but for a whiskey to transport me somewhere other than a rickhouse upon nosing it is a rare occurrence.  Dovetail immediately put me in a bookstore, one rich with mahogany walls, tufted leather chairs, and shelf upon shelf of classic literature and poetry.  I could almost hear the bindings creaking open on books that I’ve never read, but my wife has multiple times.  Definitely not what I was expecting to pick up.

On the palate, Dovetail hits hard with butterscotch candy up front, as if you just dove headfirst into that big vat of candy at the front of the grocery store.  The butterscotch lingers for a while on the front palate before giving way to stone fruit and the spice of black pepper.  The mouthfeel is slightly thicker and very pleasant.  On the finish, the black pepper returns, and with a drop of water, caramel comes out.  While there’s pepper here, there’s not significant heat that one would expect from a whiskey that’s almost 123 proof.

Barrell’s Will Schragis brought his personal sample bottle of Dovetail to St. Louis’s Whiskey in the Winter last December where I had an initial chance to taste it.  In a hotel ballroom, out of a small rocks glass with a couple thousand other people surrounding me, Dovetail made an impression.  It was hands down the best thing I tried all night, thanks Will!   Now, having had the opportunity to secure a bottle and have multiple pours, it has changed my outlook on finished whiskeys.  Good things happen when you #DrinkCurious.

Learn more about Bob’s whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

About the Author
Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett


The fifteen months Bob Bennett spent living in Lebanon, KY, as a child may have laid the groundwork for what would happen years later (something in the water…literally). Originally from Corning, NY, he grew up in a household where happy hour was celebrated every night. Surprisingly, Bennett didn’t start drinking until he was 23 years old. He quickly made up for lost time, gravitating to bourbon as his preferred libation immediately, and proudly filled the bar that was passed down from his father. In the years that followed, not only did he develop a deeper appreciation for bourbon, but began to cherish the opportunity to talk about the spirit he has grown to love. As the Artistic Director for Jazz St. Louis, Bennett has become the unofficial bourbon ambassador of jazz, spreading the gospel of good taste to musicians everywhere. It also helps endear him to the St. Louis community, which is needed, as bleeding Dodger Blue tends to rub those Cardinal fans the wrong way.


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    I had a very similar opinion of it! Not typically a fan of finished whiskeys as I feel like they’re usually used to mask shortcomings of sub-par whiskey. This one is totally different and opened my eyes to truly “premium” finished whiskey. It’s good bourbon and whiskey to begin with, then the cask finishes somehow form a perfect marriage and bring out the good parts of each, without any of the bad.

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