I just picked up a miniature Berentzen Bushel & Barrel “Straight bourbon whiskey, neutral spirits, caramel coloring and natural flavors.” It’s a German product containing an American straight bourbon, and this terminology means that they’re not actually calling it a bourbon or whiskey. Their website states “The combination of two time-honored crafts. We sourced Straight Kentucky Bourbon, distilled and aged to specification, and mingled it with authentic Berentzen liqueur.”
I’d never republish a company press release as a review, as some blogs have done, but I’ll excerpt it to provide some background this product:
With a long and uninterrupted history which dates back to 1758, the Berenzten company was originally founded by Johann Bernhard Berentzen in Haselünne, Lower Saxony Germany. Family owned and run for over two centuries the company has forged a reputation in the industry that is synonymous with quality. It was in 1976 that the creative skills of brothers Friedrich and Hans came to the fore when they introduced a ingredient to their original wheat liqueur spirit, richly infusing it with the juice of orchard fresh apples. They had created the first of a new generation ultra-modern liqueurs in ‘Berentzen Apfelkorn’ … in 2013 Berentzen U.S.A was established. Created to celebrate this union Berenztzen’s Bushel & Barrel sagaciously mingles Berentzen’s original liqueur with America’s native spirit, Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
Apple pie is America’s favorite desert, and bourbon is America’s national spirit, and yet we had to wait for a German company to put the two together? The irony is so thick you could cut it with a schnitzel.
Color: Light yellow, like apple cider
Nose: Apple cider. No ethanol bite.
Palate: Sour or red apple; there’s plenty of sour and sweet in here. No bourbon taste. Clearly a cordial. This is what one might choose in Autumn as a refreshing change of pace if they wanted something sweet. Would be good on the rocks or in a cocktail, but it’s not great taken neat.
If made in the USA, TTB regulations could label this as “Flavored whiskey”, or “Distilled Spirits Speciality”