Classification: Rye Whiskey Finished in Martinique Rhum, Madeira, and Apricot Brandy Casks
Company: Barrell Craft Spirits
Distillery: Undisclosed Canadian Distillery(ies)
Release Date: Ongoing
Age: 16 Years
Color: Golden Hay
MSRP: $250 (2022)
Peach | Apricot | Oak | Mild earthiness
Grapefruit | Peach | Apricot | Red fruit medley | Almond
Musty oak | Apricot | Plum | Light tobacco | Earthy | Medium length
After completely falling for the inaugural release of Seagrass in 2021 (and eventually awarding it one of our best American whiskeys of the year), hearing that Barrell Craft Spirits was going to include it in their Gray Label series, my excitement started building. When they revealed it was going to feature a 16 year age statement, that excitement then started to boil. But there was no guarantee this was going to be an automatic winner based on its younger sibling. The standard Seagrass features a hybrid of ryes from Indiana, Tennessee, and Canada, while the Gray Label release is solely 16 year old Canadian rye whiskey. The question remained: can Barrell make magic again with different rye?
The standard Seagrass is extremely bright and lively, yet adding age and a stronger oak influence is a tantalizing prospect. The apricot brandy influence is still front and center with the Gray Label release, but much less overpowering and better balanced. The inclusion of musty oak, plum, and an overall earthiness throughout, makes for a much more layered and complex pour. The Gray Label release is arguably an improvement over the standard release, but at the same time, there’s no denying the standard release’s vibrance. Both are excellent pours and there is a degree of personal preference as to which one will appeal to you more. The trade off Gray Label had to make, improved it in one sense, but also took something away by mellowing its vibrancy. The Gray Label release is a fantastic companion pour to the standard release, making it a must for anyone that loves Barrell Seagrass.