The glassware of choice for the review is my trusty Glencairn whiskey glass. From this viewpoint, the Orphan Barrel Barterhouse is a spot on amber color.
The nose is dessert on an oak plate. An abundance of vanilla, caramel, cream and oak. The oak although present, to my surprise, isn’t dominating the 20 year aged whiskey.
The nose and palate are two entirely different tales. On the palate, the first and foremost recognizable note is oak. However, the oak is not overbearing. Reaching a bit deeper, vanilla, kitchen baking spices and caramel follows.
Probably the best remark I can give about this whiskey is its balance. For a 20 year bourbon, the proof is just right to not make it too oak forward, and still have traditional sweeter bourbon notes.
The oak is most prevalent within the finish (as compared to nose and palate). As expected from a 20 year aged bourbon, the oak is an aged dry oak as compared to a younger fresh cut oak.
The Orphan Barrel Barterhouse is not the best and certainly not the worst of bourbons on the market. What is most intriguing is the uniqueness of having a 20 year aged bourbon at a fair price of $75. So high praise for the rarer opportunity, but right dab in the middle in terms of the overall flavor profile.