Barrell Rye Cask Strength Batch 3 Review
This is one of the best ryes I've had in quite a while.
Distillery: undisclosed, distilled in Tennessee, Indiana, Poland and Canada
Proof: 116.7 proof
Age: 4 years (blend of 4 to 14-year old barrels)
As would be expected, a nice kick of rye hits me first. Following that I'm getting clove, oak and orange peel. The ethanol on the nose is very minimal, which is surprising at 116 proof, but that helps you really dig in and identify different elements. Up next I get charred sugar, plenty of caramel and even a little bit of walnuts. It's usually a good sign when the nose has so many different elements, so my hopes are up going into the first taste.
In what's quickly becoming a calling card for Barrell, this one explodes onto your palate and seems to light up all my taste buds at one time. I actually have to go back for a second sip to identify specific flavors. I'm getting strong rye with a little leather. There's an undeniable spearmint note with a big helping of cinnamon as well. Beyond the bolder flavors, I find a hint of green apple and even a tad of anise. This is a really well developed rye and it comes without that bitterness that I find in so many of the younger ryes today.
The finish is long and warm but not overly hot. The rye notes step it up a bit here, but there's a little dark fruit to balance that out. There's more cinnamon as well, but it's more like cinnamon candy and its rounded out nicely with tobacco. Following along with the note about the lack of bitterness, it's not a dry finish at all, which is thing many ryes suffer from in my opinion.
I'm starting to run out of adjectives to describe Barrell products. Everything I've tried has been so consistently good that I keep half thinking one of the next batches will be a miss. So far, that hasn't been the case, and I'd even say they're stepping it up a notch. This is a fantastic rye, one of the better ryes I've had in recent memory to be honest. Barrell took more than two years between their last batch of rye and this one, and I can honestly say that it was worth the wait.
This sample was provided at no cost by Barrell Craft Spirits. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a general guide of what I consider each score range
4.75 - 5.00: Phenomenal. Hard to imagine anything better. Acquire at any cost.
4.25 - 4.50: Excellent. I'll camp out to get a bottle if necessary.
3.75 - 4.00: Great stuff. I'll buy backups if not too expensive.
3.25 - 3.50: Good stuff. Try to keep one on the bar, but don't spend too much.
2.75 - 3.00: Not bad. I don't regret the purchase, but may not buy another.
2.25 - 2.50: Sub-par. I regret the purchase. Reserved for mixed drinks.
1.75 - 2.00: Bad. I'll struggle to finish the bottle. May not want it in cocktails.
0.00 - 1.50: Drain-pour. Something seems wrong with it. Get it away.