Barrell Dovetail Review – The wonderful ‘unbourbony’ treat


From previous reviews, you can tell that I’m a big fan of Barrell Craft Spirits. It seems they can do no wrong when it comes to bourbon. Dovetail, though, isn’t a bourbon. It’s a whisky that has plenty of barrel finishes, and those barrel finishes aren’t subtle. Not one bit. When we had Will Schragis from Barrell Craft Spirits on the podcast, he suggested this is a great place to start if you’re new to BCS. I agree. 

From their 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. 

As an entry-level Barrel Craft Spirits, this is a great place to start. It’s still high proof (124.34), but it easily falls into the category of “it doesn’t taste so high alcohol.” On the contrary, it’s fairly quiet on the nose and peppery on the palate. Sure, it’s more like spicy paprika spice, but there’s a nice subtle character that calms the palate. 

The finishing cask influences are obvious; this isn’t meant to taste like a bourbon. But the sweet and boozy notes will balance nicely for many palates. I think it’s fair to say some will say this lands too heavily on the cask influenced side, especially if you’re looking for a traditional bourbon. But for me, this is great treat to get into when I’m looking for that rich dessert bourbon. 

Barrell Dovetail
Barrel Craft Spirits 
Category: Whiskey finished in rum, port & Dunn Vineyards Carbnet Barrels, 62.17% ABV
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Nose: Quiet on the nose, especially at this proof level. Gives off distant wine barrel notes, like from another room that’s in a neighbouring home kind of distance. There’s some blue cotton candy, and a bit of smoked caramel. It’s a wonderfully welcoming nose that’s not too intense, but peeks the curiosity. 

Palate: Plentiful oak spice, raisins (I generally dislike raisins, but if raisins were good, this would be how they taste), and that gummy cotton candy note. It’s buttery, paprika spicy, and beyond that hit of spice it turns smooth. There’s far more complexity here after a few sips; anise, cinnamon, touches of licorice. Sprinkle of nuttiness. It’s all fairly subtle, complex, and despite the subtle flavours the palate intensity is quite high. 

Conclusion: In the category of ‘whisky that’s a little different’ I absolutely loved this. It was quite the treat. You can really pick out the wide variety of flavours that overlap one another nicely. The more intense flavour plays well on the subtle flavours making it one of those drinks that gives you something a little different with each sip. It’s not Bourbon, but you won’t hold that against the drink. 

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