Barrell Whiskey Infinite Barrel Project (April 19, 2018 Release, Batch 3)
Updated: Dec 19, 2018
Really promising concept and a flavorful, complex whiskey. Batch 3 is a winner.
Type: American Whiskey
Distillery: Barrell Craft Spirits
Age: Not stated
Price Paid: $69.99
Before diving into the review, it's important to understand what this project is and what this line of whiskey aims to be. Unlike solera aging, which aims for consistency over time, the intent of this infinite barrel project is to make each batch different from the last. Each new batch starts with the whiskey from the previous batch, but then new barrels are added. For this particular batch, they started with batch 2 then added:
- Tennessee whiskey finished in Amaro barrels
- Polish malted rye finished in PX sherry casks
- Tennessee rye finished in Curacao barrels
- Indiana whiskey
- Irish whiskey
Medium gold. It's not a super dark whiskey, but it's definitely spent more than a couple years in barrels.
The nose of this is one of those that seems to evolve every time you sniff. If you put 3-4 glasses of this stuff out for a blind tasting and had people smell them in order, I bet people would think they were 3 different whiskeys. The first notes I got were vanilla and maple with a decent amount of ethanol. I gave the glass a swirl and set it down just long enough to jot down a few notes and then gave it another try. This time it was all sherry, with almost nothing else. It was very similar to some of the other sherry-cask finished bourbons I've tried. On my 3rd try, the ethanol had mellowed out and now it was back to the normal whiskey notes of vanilla, caramel and a little rye. It really seems like swirling this around allows new flavors to come to the surface and get their own turn as the focal point. This is a unique nose for sure and not something I've experienced with any other whiskey.
The very first taste brought on an explosion of flavor. One thing was clear immediately: this isn't bourbon. There's a lot more going on here than in a standard bourbon. There are flavors I've never tasted in a bourbon or rye, so I guess I need to expand my cabinet with some other whiskeys! There are expected hints of vanilla and oak, but there are big helpings of sweets as well. One of my first thoughts was maraschino cherries. The rye is definitely noticeable, but there's something else. I don't know how else to say it other than it almost tastes as if a very sweet wine was poured directly into the barrel. We're talking muscadine wine sweet. That taste comes and goes with each sip, but when it's present it's really upfront. Aside from that, there's one other flavor that must be the malt, as I've only ever tasted this note in another malt whiskey. Overall, there is a ton of flavor here and much like the nose, the taste seems to change with each sip. The pro and con of that is if you really love one taste, it may not be there the second time around.
For a 117 proof whiskey, the heat is not overpowering upfront, but it lingers on your tongue long after the sip is gone. It actually seems to get stronger as it goes. The finish is peppery and long and will likely still be around when you go back for another taste.
I like creating my own infinity bottles, so I was interested in this project as soon as I heard about it. My first taste is the 3rd batch, but it did not disappoint. It isn't the best whiskey I've ever had, but it's definitely one of the most unique I've ever tasted. If you're a hardcore traditionalist or refuse to drink anything but pure bourbon, this may not be for you. It's not bourbon and doesn't taste like it. If you want something different, or want to get a feel for what whiskey all over the world can really represent, this is a fantastic choice. This batch did not disappoint and I'll definitely be hunting down the other batches.