The only scary thing about Death Wish coffee is how much we love it. Our first review of their coffee resulted in two enthusiastically caffeinated thumbs up, so when they offered to let us try their Barrel Brand Whiskey coffee, we were excited. Whiskey infused coffee? YES, PLEASE.
At $29.99, it’s a little bit of a splurge so I’d say it was medium to high range. Then again, I’ve found small batch coffees that go as high as $50 for 8 oz., so this is the market you’re looking at. Barrel Brand by Death Wish coffee doesn’t just taste good, however. It’s doing double duty as a highly caffeinated beverage. Considering that this craft coffee is produced only in limited amounts, the price is not unreasonable.
Packaging and Presentation:
In true Death Wish form, the packaging is awesome. It actually resembles a barrel, and the printing on the paper makes it look like pirate booty. On the back there’s a blurb about the passion it takes to make these liquor beans the best (can we take a moment to appreciate the phrase “liquor beans?”) along with this observation: “Some may say mixing coffee with spirits is irresponsible. We like to think of it as REVOLUTIONARY.” These are my kind of people.
The beans are dry and light, as opposed to oily and dark like their regular stuff. Still very subtle scents and very innocent-looking beans. Like a really charismatic bar tender just waiting to take all your money.
From the beginning the smells were very faint for me. There wasn’t this rush of whiskey that I was expecting when I opened and ground the beans. It smelled delightful while brewing. Not at all like walking into a bar and smelling all of the bad decisions that were about to be made.
When I finally tasted it black, I felt a little sad because I didn’t taste the whiskey right away. I’ve had infused coffee before, and it was more like they had just thrown a couple shots into the bag with the beans and called it a day. This was nothing like that. At first, it was just a few subtle notes of caramel, smokey, maybe a little oak flavor. Then, I added my cream and sugar and set it aside to cool just a bit.
I’m not sure when it happened but all of a sudden I’m drinking it and there it is. The taste of whiskey. It was like someone had taken all of the burn out of the alcohol and just left the flavor. It was ridiculously delicious. I literally felt like I was drinking! Like someone had spiked my coffee! The oak and the slight sweetness and all of smoke flavor just lingered. I’d take one sip and then another. Then I’d wait to see if it was just some sort of mental trick. It wasn’t. I was smelling it and tasting it, and I kept thinking “You are fine, there isn’t actually any alcohol in this!” But seriously, you could smell it on my breath. And I’m sure people were judging me when I went to pick up my kid from school. I even let my husband who has a love-hate relationship with whiskey smell it, and not two seconds after he pick up the pot his reaction was “NOPE. Nah-uh. That smells a whole lot like whiskey, and a whole lot like you are lying.” Apparently his brain hasn’t forgotten the last break-up fight between him and Jack.
And did I mention that the kick of energy is still in there? Because it most definitely is, and my Amazon shopping in the wee hours of the night can attest for that.
You Would Like This If:
You love fine whiskey and smooth coffee with a lovely, caffeine-filled kick. It’s indulgent and delicious.
This is also a great coffee for a nightcap. It has all the goodness you get from a spiked coffee without the worry about who’s driving home. And it would be a fantastic gag for the office. Could you imagine pouring a little of this for someone and then about 20-30 minutes later, after their brain has registered what they are tasting, they come over and ask if you are trying to get them drunk? Is it just me or does that sound like a good time? (Editor’s note: Keep an eye on Jessica at next staff meeting.)
About Barrel Brand:
Barrel Brand came about when the brilliant minds at Death Wish Coffee decided it was time to bring together two of their favorite things: coffee and good liquor. They tested and perfect the process to bring this awesome coffee to life. It’s made with 45 days of love in freshly poured oak barrels. The batches only yield 700 small bags that head right out to their customers. I’d say they’ve knocked it out of the park once again.