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What does Single Barrel mean?

What does Single Barrel mean?

A whiskey labelled single barrel, means that it comes from just one barrel as opposed to a number of barrels that are vatted and blended to achieve a desired uniformity and flavour profile.

Master distillers and their team regularly taste their whiskey so when they find a barrel which is an outlier some distillers will keep this particular barrel to be bottled without blending to be sold as ‘single barrel’. Or as in the case of Blanton’s, which in 1984 was the first single barrel bourbon to be sold commercially, conditions in the aging rickhouse are controlled to the extent where most of the barrels are good enough to be sold as ‘single barrel’ bourbon.

Single barrel whiskey can be bottled both at cask strength, like with many Willett Family Estate offerings and Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel and also cut down with water as in the case Blanton’s Gold, Blanton's Original and Elijah Craig Single Barrel.

Each single barrel tastes a little different due to the subtle differences in the wood and location of where it was aged in the rickhouse. The bottle label usually shows the cask number and in many cases the rickhouse code, bottle number and the total number of bottles yielded from that cask.

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