Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Review

Yesterday we tasted the regular Traverse City Bourbon and today we’re digging into its bigger sibling: Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon. And to be clear, this isn’t just higher proofed, it’s also a year older and that can make a big difference in younger whiskey. A lot can happen in the jump from 3 to 4 years.Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Review

It can also not make a huge difference. A lot of factors go into how a whiskey matures and you can end up with a 4-year-old that’s more mature and oaky than a 7-year-old just because of where it was placed in the warehouse, humidity, heat and a host of other conditions including the barrels themselves. Let’s see where this one falls.


Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon – Details and Tasting Notes


Whiskey Details

Region: Michigan, USA

Distiller: Traverse City Whiskey Co.
Mash Bill: At least 51% Corn + Rye + Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 4 Years
ABV: 58.3%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $80*

White background tasting shot with the Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon bottle and a glass of whiskey next to it.
“Not all whiskey barrels are created equal. We’ve reserved our most flavorful for this Limited Edition release. Traverse City Whiskey, pure and uncut, bottled at full barrel proof. We’ve crafted Barrel Proof with life’s simpler moments in mind—meant to be enjoyed smoothly and richly, whichever way you please.” – Traverse City Whiskey Co.

Tasting Notes

Ruddy copper

Oak, chalky cocoa, dried dark fruit, spiced orange peels, nuts, touch of leather, caramel and sugar cookies.

Oak, nut, powdered cocoa, dried dark fruit, spiced orange peels, caramel and touches of leather and sugar cookies.

Long -> Oak, dried dark fruit, caramel and sugar cookies.

Good, full, oily

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon – Overall

Aroma has this dark heaviness to it that starts oaky and shifts to darkly fruity to darkly sweet and then picks up some earthier tones; Palate sits like a complex cookie, like if you could put all the flavors of bourbon into a cookie… and drink it; Finish is a softer cookie copy of the palate.

This is oddly good and unique and I find myself enjoying it.

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon – Final Thoughts and Score

This is far from bad and it’s only going to get better. This shift in 1 year (and higher proof) from the regular bourbon shows the promise in this distillery. They’re putting out some decent stuff, but I think it needs to mature a bit more to show its full potential.

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon comes through with a warm bourbony profile and some added cookie-like sweetness that works well with its complex array of sweet and earthy notes. I’m happy to be sipping on this right now and I’m excited to see what they continue to put out.

SCORE: 3/5

*Disclosure: The sample for this bourbon review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Back Label

Traverse City Barrel Proof Bourbon Review


This isn’t a good craft bourbon, it’s a good bourbon and even though it’s a bit on the sweeter side of whiskey, I’m enjoying what’s going on here.


  • Nose


  • Palate


  • Finish


  • BBF



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