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What is Double Barrel Whiskey? Answered (2024 Updated)

what is double barrel whiskey

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

The common whiskey types are easy to remember. There are rye, Japanese, American whiskeys, and more. These whiskeys have special single barrel variants plucked from a single premium barrel and are not blended. 

So, what is double barrel whiskey? Let’s learn more about these spirits, how they are made and if they are better than their single-cask mates.

What is Double Barrel Whiskey?  

Amador Double Barrel Whiskey

Double barrel whiskey is sourced from two barrels. However, it is not a whiskey sourced from two single-barrel whiskeys.

Some may be confused with the terminologies, but double barrel whiskeys are spirits aged in a barrel and poured out on another for additional aging. 

These barrels can be either new or used. And it allows the whiskeys to polish and develop a finer character than a single barrel whiskey. 

It has bolder flavors and richer taste which are perfect, especially during cold weather. It is often the choice of a more seasoned whiskey drinker rather than a beginner. 

How It Tastes

Double-barreled whiskeys have noticeable differences in character and taste compared to single casks or any whiskey. The balanced taste with a light and medium body is an enjoyable trait of a double-barreled whiskey. 

Their tasting notes would vary depending on their whiskey type. Double-barreled bourbons will have their definitive rich and sweet notes, while double-barreled Scotch will have the malt presence.

Generally, these bottles will have tastier and lighter flavors.

Qualities of Double Barrel Whiskey 

Qualities of Double Barrel Whiskey 


These whiskeys are smoother with a lighter body and creamier taste. With the added years of maturation inside the second barrel, the liquor can refine and develop a finer texture than single-barreled whiskeys or the regular ones. 

Its medium body makes it a good choice for sipping or neat, but it can also be an option on the rocks drink.


Two Stacks Irish Double Barrel Whiskey

Most double-barreled whiskeys have a long and lingering finish. It commonly has bright citrus notes from the second barrel in which it was filtered and polished. 

A noticeable trait is its added smoothness regardless of the alcohol level it contains. 


Double-barreled whiskeys have dark amber or amber colors. You will notice a clear viscosity (1) and a creamy texture in this liquor. 

However, the clarity in each bottle signifies its calmness and lightness. These bottles do not have the same hue as some brands have their products filtered. 


Flavors always vary depending on the ingredients used to make the whiskeys. However, elevated tastes are common in every double barrel whiskey. The viscosity is not unpleasant to the tongue but has a creamy feel. 

Double-barreled bourbon has a sweeter and more layered flavor, though Scotch is almost the same if not for the drier texture typical with these whiskeys. 

Double-barreled whiskeys have a more pronounced and defined taste courtesy of the extra years of maturity. But what’s the best whiskey in the world?


Scent and flavor go hand in hand in a double barrel whiskey. The common aroma would be citrus and oak with a touch of vanilla. 

Each brand has its own staple flavor, which will immediately flow out of the bottle once it is opened.

A double-barreled rye whiskey also has a stronger nose than a regular bottle, brought by the heightened aroma of spice.

Double Barrel vs Single Barrel Whiskey

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Whiskey

The strength of a double barrel whiskey is in its heightened features. It has extra smoothness and an elevated flavor because of the added time it was aged inside the second barrel. These are more flavorful compared to single barrel whiskeys.

On the other hand, single barrel whiskeys rely on their uniqueness and purity. It was not only aged in a single cask but also sourced from one barrel, unblended. It is more expensive than any variant and normally has a high alcohol content. 


Is a double barrel whiskey aged longer?

Yes, double barrel whiskey is aged longer than a single barrel whiskey. It is transferred to a virgin, heavy charred, American oak to rest for another year, at least. This is in addition to the years it was aged in either new or used barrels. 

Are double barrel whiskeys expensive?

It depends. Some double barrel whiskey brands are expensive while some are pretty affordable. The single-barreled bottles are more sought after because these are rare spirits.
Though whiskeys are made in batches, not everything will end up with extra-special qualities. Those that emerge as the rare barrel is set aside to be bottled as single-barrel whiskey.

How is double barrel whiskey made?

Double barrel whiskey starts with the standard whiskey-making process, where the spirit is aged in charred oak barrels. After this initial aging period, the whiskey is transferred to a second oak barrel for further maturation. This secondary aging allows the whiskey to develop additional complexity and depth of flavor.

What distinguishes double barrel whiskey from regular whiskey?

The primary distinction between double barrel whiskey and regular whiskey is the secondary aging process. While regular whiskey is typically aged once in a single oak barrel, double barrel whiskey undergoes an additional round of aging in a second barrel, enhancing its flavor and character.

What flavors can be expected from double barrel whiskey?

Double barrel whiskey often exhibits rich and intense flavors due to the extended aging process. It may feature notes of caramel, vanilla, oak, spice, and sometimes hints of dried fruits or chocolate, depending on the specific whiskey and barrels used.

How long is double barrel whiskey aged in the second barrel?

The duration of aging in the second barrel can vary depending on the whiskey producer’s preferences and the desired flavor profile. It may range from a few months to several years, with some producers opting for shorter secondary aging periods to maintain balance.

Final Thoughts 

Double barrel whiskey is a special type of whiskey made with extra effort as it requires finishing touches. The extra year allows the flavor to develop a more defined savoriness than a regular whiskey.

Having the whiskey cask finished gives the flavor a richer and fuller taste. Many whiskey variants offer double-barrel bottles: a spicier and more flavorful rye variant or a sweeter and intense bourbon. 

Most seasoned whiskey drinkers would prefer this bottle, but it is not impossible for a beginner to love its special taste. 


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