I’m really excited to line these products up and see how they fare against each other in a head-to-head tasting. I’ve already reviewed each product in this lineup, which might lead you to draw a conclusion early, but I’d urge you to hold off on that line of thinking until the tasting and discussion…you may be surprised. The original Barrell Seagrass was my Whiskey of the Year, after all!
I’d like to quickly breakdown the timeline of the product releases just to give context of these unique whiskies. The first release, Barrell Seagrass, dates back to March of 2021, where Barrell said:
“Seagrass stands alone as a whiskey, while also inviting the drinker to explore the multitude of influences created by a global approach to sourcing, finishing, and blending,” said Founder Joe Beatrice. “It highlights the grassy oceanside notes we love in rye and the opulence and spice of finishing barrels. It’s bottled at cask strength so you can appreciate its true flavor.”
I truly enjoyed this product since my first sip. Included in my review of Seagrass is a Weekly Whiskey video where Barrell’s Chief Innovation Officer, Will Schragis, joined us for a single barrel selection and private tasting of upcoming products. Seagrass was among them, and it certainly left an impression on us.
Next on scene was an entry in the Barrell Craft Spirits lineup of Gray Label Whiskey, Seagrass 16 Year. This product was entirely comprised of Canadian rye (a diversion from it’s younger sibling in terms of liquid profile) that was finished the same way.
Releasing in January of 2022, Gray Label Seagrass 16 arrived with an SRP of $250, in line with the BCS Gray Label releases, and the brand had this to say:
“We knew we had something special with the launch of Barrell Seagrass last year and decided to take that same method of global sourcing and blending, both in whiskey and finishing materials, and apply it to a very special set of barrels,” said BCS Founder Joe Beatrice. “BCS Gray Label Seagrass is an expression rooted in the profile of Barrell Seagrass, but at a level only achievable with older and higher proof whiskies.”
My subsequent review took a slight upgrade in score from the original A- taken home by Barrell’s first Seagrass expression. The article linked in the beginning of this paragraph also includes a Weekly Whiskey video diving deeper into the release. This release landed a (very rare) clean A score, and netted a perfect 10 from my co-host T8ke over at Whiskey Raiders.
Now we come to the final boss of the Seagrass lineup. The Gold Label (yes, that means $500 SRP) Seagrass 20 Year. The second release of BCS Gold Label whiskey, and the most expensive rye they have produced to date. The brand had this to say in May of 2022:
“Gold Label Seagrass epitomizes our team’s expertise in global sourcing and blending, both in whiskey and finishing materials,” said BCS Founder Joe Beatrice. “This exceptional whiskey is remarkably flavorful, showcasing the best of the Seagrass profile in a whiskey that can only be made this complex and nuanced with time in the barrel.”
There is only so much press info you can read. We all know what really matters here: which one is the best, and is it worth the price? I always say that value is at least as subjective as flavor, so I can’t tell you if any bottle is worth buying. I can only tell you what I think it tastes like and how it scores for me. The banking, sadly, is up to you.
For now, I’m going to dive in. Let’s give these a taste and rank them!