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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Barker's Mill Bottled-in-Bond

In the myriad of brands adorning retail shelves, I'm always looking for new bourbons and whiskeys to try. And, I'm always reading the labels carefully. Many craft-produced spirits can be extremely young and could benefit from more time in the bottle. Today we take a look at a new Bottled-in-Bond product - Barker's Mill.

Taking Advantage of Local Grains

The Barker's Mill brand is produced by the MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky. Paul and Merry Beth (hence where the "MB" comes from) Tomaszewski began distilling in 2009 as Kentucky's first "grain to glass" distiller. Barker's Mill is the first Bottled-in-Bond product produced by MB Roland, which also produces several other bourbons, ryes, and flavored whiskeys. Barker's Mill pays homage to a nearby local mill.

From the label, we learn more about Barker's Mill, which was built along the West Fork Creek in Christian County, Kentucky (western KY). For over 100 years, the mill provided jobs for the local community and operated until it fell into disrepair in 1940. Taking advantage of the local grains milled onsite, including white corn, red winter wheat and malted barley, a distillery operated as well.

The Tasting

The bourbon is presented in a tall, shouldered bottle with an antiqued label with a lithograph depicting Barker's Mill. This bourbon adheres to the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, indicating it

  • is produced in the United States

  • is a product of 1 distillation season, by a single distiller, at a single location

  • labeled to identify the distillery where it was distilled

  • aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least 4 years

  • is bottled at 100 proof

The faux tax stamp indicates this is a product was distilled in Fall 2016 and bottled in Fall 2021. The mash bill is undisclosed, other than it uses wheat (instead of rye) as its flavoring grain. MB Roland, true to its roots, continues to use locally sourced grains, including its signature use of white corn. The website further shares that this product is also unfiltered.

Eye: Medium-dark amber. Long, medium-thick legs are displayed on the sides of my Glencairn tasting glass.

Nose: Sweet honey and candied orange peel with some light smokey notes. On a second approach, there is caramelized brown sugar present.

Palate: Grain forward with some youthful notes. There is an earthiness to the grains, as well as a smokey quality. Sweet sugar syrup and more savory traits are balanced to provide a unique flavor profile.

Finish: Medium with more grain and citrus notes, followed by spice and oak char.

Overall: Priced around $40, I appreciate MB Roland taking the time to produce a 5-year Bottled-in-Bond product. That said, this isn't my favorite Bottled-in-Bond bourbon, but it is a pretty unique one. If you're looking for a unique Bottled-in-Bond expression, this might be one to consider trying. If, on the other hand, a more grain-forward product that deviates from more traditional vanilla-caramel notes isn't your "cup of tea", you may want to take a pass.

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