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Whiskey Guide


Barrel selection by whiskey tastes

Our customers often email us for recommendations on selecting the best barrels to satisfy their unique palate or the palate of someone special. While we are excited to offer a world of possibilities in whiskey tastes by creating with our Whiskey Builder and Experience Kit (21,000 possible whiskey recipes, to be exact) we have created the following guide to provide our suggestions or a starting point for your special creation. As always, you can feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions around your unique barrel selection.

Sweet Whiskey Perfection:

You’re either new to whiskey or you like your whiskey sweet. You run as far away from peppery rye spice in your whiskey. This barrel selection is for you. We’ve chosen to pair our Pure Bourbon with some of our Wheated because in the world of bourbon, more wheat means more sweet. Think beautifully rich, dessert notes akin to  a fruit pie that envelope your palate with flavors of caramel, cream, apples and berries. 

  • Pure Bourbon: 70%
  • Wheated: 30%

 The Classic Bourbon Lover:

You love your bourbons with some spice. Nothing quite makes your mouth sing as much as they do. For you, we have a couple of recommendations – one with a hint of spice and the other with more pronounced spice to cover the whole spectrum. 

Light Spice:

This barrel selection will produce notes of caramel, vanilla & stone fruit at the front with a light hint of cinnamon, pepper & nutmeg at the back.

  • Pure Bourbon: 75%
  • Rye Bourbon: 5%
  • Barley Rye: 10%
  • Pure Rye: 10%

 Higher Spice:

This barrel selection will produce notes of vanilla, caramel & cocoa at the front with a lingering lightly smokey finish of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper & flowers.

  • Rye Bourbon: 85%
  • Pure Rye: 15%

 The Rye lover:

You live for that signature rye spiciness that kicks around on your palate with every sip and you like your whiskeys more on the assertive side . For you, our Pure Rye is an ideal whiskey. Having said that, Designer Dram is all about creating that one-of-a-kind whiskey so here is our barrel recommendation for the rye lover that hits all the notes you’re looking for, with some complementary sweetness.

 This will produce wonderful rye spice tasting notes (black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg) with a great balance of sweetness from caramel, vanilla and fruit. You will also get a hint of smoke and floral notes.

  •     Barley Rye: 20%
  •     Pure Rye: 80%

We have a number of customers who love the spiciness of Rye, but want even more sweetness in their overall whiskey. If this is you, you can replace the Barley Rye with Wheated or Pure Bourbon in the barrel recommendation above.

 The Scotch Lover

You are a “get me a single malt whiskey aged in sherry oak casks and nothing else, please,” kind of whiskey person. While we do not have single malts and all of our whiskey is aged in new American Oak, we can still achieve a number of the spectacular flavors that our customers love in their scotch using our barrels. The following barrel recommendation will produce a whiskey taste with notes of sweet fruit and baking spices, along with some pepper and smoke.

  •     Rye Bourbon: 20%
  •     Wheated: 20%
  •     Barley Rye: 60%

 The Irish Grain:

 Irish Grain whiskeys make your heart skip a beat, and we have you covered. This barrel recommendation has wonderful, balanced notes of sweetness (vanilla, brown sugar), stewed fruit and spice:

  •     Pure Bourbon: 15%
  •     Rye Bourbon: 40%
  •     Barley Rye: 45%

 As always, remember that your ABV plays a big part in the overall impact of your whiskey. For a whiskey with more diverse flavors, we recommend going with the 43% and for a more concentrated, robust whiskey, we recommend going with the 47%. If you’re ever in doubt, look at some of your favorite whiskeys and what their ABVs are for guidance.

If you would rather create your whiskey from scratch, we recommend reviewing our blending blog  and using our whiskey tasting notes on our whiskey builder, our palate test, mash bill finder or tasting our barrels  by purchasing our whiskey experience kit to create the perfect full size bottle of whiskey. Our team is always on hand to assist at

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