Barrell Spirits | Craft Distilleries | Review

Barrell Dovetail Review [Barrell Craft Spirits]

Last updated Jan 13, 2021 | Published on Nov 26, 2020


by Matty Sims

“Barrell Dovetail took almost a year to get right,” says the Barrell team, “from blending to labeling, all coming together in a seemingly perfect point.” That’s commitment to the craft no matter the outcome, and that’s why I believe such varied whiskeys with different finishes — like rum, port, and Dunn Cabernet — ends up working.


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Barrell Dovetail (2020) Review

barrell dovetail 2020

Barrell Dovetail 2020
Barrell Dovetail 2020Details
Blends10-year-old Indiana whiskey finished in cabernet sauvignon casks and 11-year-old Tennessee bourbon finished in rum casks and port pipes
In the Bottle122.9 Proof
Age10 to 11 Years Old
Release TypeBlended Whiskey
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$80
DistilleryBarrell Craft Spirits
Louisville, KY
ProsMasterclass in finishing and blending
RatingGold 94 Points


  • 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 in the Glass

Creamy with long, thin legs. The color is a rich caramel.

Nose Dive – 94 out of 100 Points

Barell Dovetail has a powerhouse nose. I was pouring this in my Glencairn whiskey glass and picking up sugar cane ice cream and dark red fruits. I got a whiff of alcohol with nose in the glass but again it’s sugar cane ice cream, nutmeg, raisins, hazelnut, and oak. The nose is complex and balanced.

Taste – 93 out of 100 Points

Dovetail is creamy. It’s sugar cane caramel and creamy hazelnut with notes of chocolate on the front of the palate. It reminded me of eating a Ferrero Rocher. It also offers dry red fruit through mid to back palate filled with nutmeg and rye spice. There’s also a lingering red peppercorn. It’s jam-packed with flavor and drinks like a barrel proof whiskey. This whiskey is not shy.

With just a splash of water, you get all the flavor but the heat in the back of the palate is mellowed and the creaminess and fruit notes from the front of the palate move through the finish.

Finish – 94 out of 100 Points

This whiskey can’t stop, won’t stop. It’s a long, warm Kentucky hug that warms you from your toes to your nose. Dovetail’s finish features more creamy hazelnut, rye spice, and the dark red fruits and bitter grapes shine through as well.

Verdict – Gold 94 out of 100 Points

I was ready to not like this. I haven’t had many Cabernet finished whiskeys that I found interesting. And the three finishes seemed so different but this works wonderfully. It’s a masterclass in finishing and blending.

For those who love High West’s Midwinter’s Night Dram, Barrell Dovetail should be your jam. It’s an instant holiday classic. This is a drink in the winter kind of whiskey.

The Barrell Dovetail (2020) reviewed was provided by Barrell Craft Spirits at no cost for a no strings attached review. Thank you.

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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