Barrell Craft Spirits 24 Year Whiskey (Gray Label)
Just when we thought the limited edition season was over, Barrell Craft Spirits drops their entire Gray Label series (15 Year Bourbon, 16 Year Seagrass, and this 24 Year Whiskey) as well as their Gold Label Bourbon! Talk about a busy season for the folks at Barrell. You have likely seen my review of Seagrass 16 by now, but if you’re looking for some video reviews of these you can find more on Weekly Whiskey on YouTube. Let’s dive into this ultra-aged expression and see what else the Gray Label series has to offer.
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Check the video below for the review Jay and I did on Weekly Whiskey.
The Gray Label 24 Year Whiskey is what happens when the blending team over at Barrell Craft Spirits gets their hands on batches of 24 year old Canadian whiskey. One batch brought with it a fruity vibe, and the other a more woody tone. Barrell did what anyone would do. What’s that? They finished them in a combination of Oloroso Sherry and XO Armagnac casks, of course!
Joking aside, this is definitely another showcase of Barrell’s ability to see the big picture. Just releasing a straightforward whiskey with a high age-statement isn’t enough. They look at everything as an ingredient, and try to make a product that is more than the sum of its parts.
Let’s take a look at the press information from Barrell Craft Spirits:
The BCS Gray Label Whiskey features 24-year Canadian whiskey barrels, a portion of which were finished in Oloroso Sherry barrels and Armagnac casks. When the timing and flavor from the finishing casks peaked, all of the components were carefully blended together and bottled at cask strength at 121.64 proof (60.82% ABV).
Barrell Craft Spirits
Capitalizing on the fruit-forward batch and using the woody batch to hold things together sounds like a great combination for the whiskey enthusiast, coupled with the proof point (121.64 proof) there’s no doubt this is an expression for the serious whiskey drinker who’s looking for something totally off the beaten path. How does it work? Let’s find out!
Nose – Quite complex, desserty, and rich. There’s a big pile of fruits that work into a dark red fruit preserves type of note, and meld together nicely with a dash of oak and a butterscotch and waffle cone backbone.
Taste – On the palate this is a little more straightforward than I expected after the nose. It coats nicely, and certainly plays a complex tune with fruits and ice cream shop notes in really nice harmony. Mexican vanilla, ice cream, jammy fruits, and a light butterscotch ice cream sundae work in before some spice pops up.
Finish – The finish hangs on for a medium to long time, and although seems to lose some of the complexity I picked up on the nose, it’s pretty well balanced. The sweet notes from the nose and palate roll off nicely as some oak and baking spice pick up the back end of this sip.
Bourbon Finder Grade: B
All in all this is a tasty whiskey that brings layers of flavor and unique characteristics to the table. It doesn’t strike me quite the way the Gray Label Seagrass 16 did, but they can’t all be absolute flavor monsters.
Where this one was better than average (but not a top performer) for me, my co-host Jay certainly liked it. Just goes to show that each palate appreciates different things. Looking forward to the next Barrell release, as these guys are totally crazy in all the right ways. Cheers!
TheBourbonFinder thanks Barrell Craft Spirits for graciously providing us a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!