In a world where whiskey has exploded in popularity it can be a bit tricky to find something that is both unique and delicious. Barrell Craft Spirits sets their sights on creating the best products with the ingredients they can get access to. By ingredients I am, of course, referencing spirits. Bourbon, American whiskey, rye, rum, and more are tucked away in Barrell’s extensive portfolio and they aren’t shy to blend them to make something unlike you’ve ever tried. Today I’ll review one such product, dubbed Seagrass. This is a blend of American rye and Canadian rye that is finished in a combination of Martinique Rum, Madeira, and apricot brandy casks. Whew! Sounds crazy, right? Let’s dig in and see what the folks at Barrell have put together.
In the Weekly Whiskey video above you’ll see myself and my co-host (along with a guest from r/bourbon) selecting a private barrel from, well, Barrell. If you fly ahead to about 46:25 you’ll get to see a live tasting of Seagrass.
The newest member of the Barrell lineup comes in the form of Seagrass. Alongside it’s rambunctious and flavor-packed siblings Dovetail and Armida, Seagrass completes the trifecta of blended and finished expressions from Barrell Craft Spirits.
Departing from their regular releases (labeled as Batches) such as Batch 024 Barrell is employing the full arsenal if it’s blending power by sourcing American and Canadian rye whiskeys and finishing each component of the blend individually.
Who better to describe this unique expression than Barrell Craft Spirits themselves? Here is an excerpt from the press release:
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.
Barrell Craft Spirits
So we know this is a blend of rye whiskeys, and that sets us up with some expectations as whiskey drinkers but what in the world could a blend of rye whiskeys (from two different countries no less!) that has been finished in three separate casks hold for an overall profile? I’ll admit that this sounds a little dodgy, but I’m okay with that…so let’s give it a go!
Nose – Sweet apple, apricot, and nectarine mixing with caramel and cane sugar. The background spice of rye with the slightest hint of pepper is in there, but it’s accentuating the sweetness more than anything.
Taste – Big, rich, and fruity right up front. The apricot jumps right out and is immediately followed by waves of a sweet fruit syrup and a solid vanilla background. The rye is evident, but not overpowering. This is an in-your-face flavor bomb of fruit that bounces between tropical and stone fruits that may even have a touch of white grape going on. It’s complex and luxurious.
Finish – Really long and impactful. This is where the rye shows off the most with a touch of sweet and floral hay characteristic backed up by oak. The fruit and spice really start to interchange here and land gracefully. I’m really impressed with how this continually evolves on the palate.
Bourbon Finder Grade: A-
To be blunt, this is very good. The experienced whiskey drinker will have a hell of a time analyzing all of the flavors in this, and the novice will appreciate the drinkability and it may even serve to bridge the gap for someone who is just beginning their trip into rye whiskey land.
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!
I got into bourbon for the flavor and experiences associated with it. As I found more bourbon I enjoyed, the need to dive deeper into the history, brands, and technical side of things converted me into a total bourbon geek.