It looks like Barrell Craft Spirits simply can’t cease making premium blends, regardless of how arduous they struggle. Final 12 months, Barrell launched their Stellum Spirits line which supplied a cask energy bourbon and rye designed to be less complicated blends at a extra wallet-friendly worth level than their batch releases. The purpose right here appeared to be a extra constant and accessible product that also lived as much as Barrell’s excessive requirements of high quality and creativity. It didn’t take lengthy, nevertheless, for the pricier, premiumized particular editions to reach underneath the Stellum Black label, adopted by yet one more assortment of fully completely different Stellum Black “Specialty Mix” restricted editions. Having a tough time maintaining? You’re not alone.
We haven’t but sampled a typical Stellum Black providing, which additionally contains each a bourbon and a rye, however we’re informed they’re constructed across the core Stellum mix and a layering of “older reserve barrels.” What then to make of the most recent “Specialty Mix” Black releases? The bourbon, dubbed Equinox Mix, is reportedly produced in the identical method as Stellum Black with unspecified “uncommon bourbon” barrels, the catch being that mixing was accomplished on the night of the Vernal Equinox “in honor of the altering seasons.” The advertising people may be forgiven for making an attempt to adapt to the entire area theme (Stellum is Latin for “star”), however this looks like only a bit a lot. The story behind the rye providing is barely marginally higher. Branded Fibonacci Mix, for the well-known mathematical sequence (you’ll in all probability must look it up), this whiskey is an elaborate mixture of six completely different rye blends. That was all in all probability extra backstory than you wanted. Ah nicely.
Stellum Black Equinox Mix #1 – The aroma is traditional and well-built with notes of pulpy citrus, peanut shells, vanilla bean, and chocolate-covered toffee. It’s a bit punchy at this proof, however there’s sufficient sweetness and depth to maintain the alcohol from being too distracting. The palate is daring however approachable and fairly candy. Notes of caramel candies and freshly floor cinnamon kick issues off earlier than transitioning to candied orange peel and vanilla taffy on the mid-palate accompanied by some latent warming spice that builds with measured depth right into a balanced end of candy, sticky honey and drying, spicy oak. I’ve no agency concept the place this bourbon matches within the pantheon of Barrell spirits, and I’m not likely getting any Vernal Equinox notes. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless a strong whiskey. 117 proof. A- / $100
Stellum Black Fibonacci Mix #1 – The nostril is surprisingly restrained for the proof. It’s dominated by citrus however not juicy pulp or aromatic zest. That is nearly fully of the dried selection, gentle however nonetheless contemporary. The oak is well-integrated with a toasty char notice and gentle wooden pulp. An earthy layer of entire spices arrives as issues open up. The palate is thick and wealthy and bolder than the aroma suggests. Notes of lemon oil and darkish brew black tea kick issues off accompanied by a punchy rye spice that hits with depth initially however recedes rapidly into the mid-palate with a mild, hugging heat. Spice field, treacle, and cinnamon syrup comply with earlier than a beneficiant wood-driven end of dry oak, clove, and cinnamon stick. The usual Stellum rye was my favourite of the pair, and I’ve to offer the sting to this one, as nicely. 115 proof. A / $100