Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Bourbon Release 4
A bourbon characterized by evolution – where some whiskeys display their complexity all at once, here the flavors remain focused yet ephemeral. A gentle minerality yields to candied scents and then savory earthy ones, fruity aromas, and finally herbs and spices. The palate, meanwhile, is bright and sweet and tastes of cola.
Starts with a puff of chalk dust and wood smoke. Underneath are notes of toasted marshmallow, warm honeycomb, and chocolate babka straight from the oven. Soon nubuck leather and sunflower seed jostle to the fore. Fruits emerge next, from Ginger Gold apples through roasted banana to strawberry jam, ending with chamomile and eucalyptus.
A syrupy and sweet arrival is kept in check by moderate heat and some light but gritty tannin. A vivid cola note dominates at first, then allspice, fennel seed, and peppermint lead the wave of oak spice. A little fruity spirit peeks through with pops of green grape, strawberry meringue, and jasmine.
The sugar washes away quickly, leaving a surprisingly dry, oily, palate with more noticeable tannin. The character correspondingly shifts to drier notes of pipe tobacco, walnut and iced coffee. As they fade a little more fruit emerges, around rhubarb jam and sumac.
With a splash of spring water
The nose becomes incredibly fruity, showing crabapple, lychee, and blackberry tart. The palate grows fruitier as well, here on watermelon and earl grey tea. But it also develops an earthy spiciness, along gingerbread, radish, and nasturtium.