Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Bourbon 15 Year Bourbon 100.4 Proof
Matured for 15 years, the new bottling is characterized by candied scents and then savory earthy ones, fruity aromas, and finally herbs and spices, according to the brand. The palate is bright and sweet and tastes of cola. It is described as a union of grain and barrel, with an opulent, oak forward nose and a honey-brûlée palate that reveals the lushness of the grain.
Based in Louisville, KY, Barrell Craft Spirits is described as being an award-winning independent bottler and blender, earning Best Bourbon twice at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) and high honors at the NY International Spirits Competition, LA Spirits Competition, and Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC), including Chairman’s Trophy for Barrell Dovetail. It is highly rated by Whisky Advocate and was named Best American Whiskey of 2018 in Forbes.
The bottler’s goal is to select and blend products that explore different distillation methods, barrels and aging environments, and bottle them at cask strength. Every batch is produced as a limited release and has an intentionally distinct flavor profile.
- Appearance: Bronze.
- Nose: 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.
- Palate: 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.
- Finish: 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.