Disclosure: This sample was provided to me by Barrell Craft Spirits for review.
Barrell Seagrass, 59.2%
Nose: Tropical fruit forward: passionfruit, papaya, pineapple, pear and orange. Just past those notes are the more familiar scents of a high-rye whiskey: mint, black pepper, clove and vanilla
Palate: More tropical fruit right off the bat plus a cinnamon and white pepper bomb that really grabs the tongue. It’s a touch hot with a medium to thick mouth feel, over time the fruit transitions to a more herbal palate: mint, dill, and rosemary with some nice honey sweetness
Finish: Medium length, spices fade leaving behind much of the fruit, slight bitterness, there’s this funky, grassy, Martinique rum note that would usually bother me but I’m actually digging it here
Rating: 82/100 – Excellent | Really quite exceptional
Wonderful stuff. I enjoyed Barrell’s Armida release quite a bit but Seagrass is easily a tier above for me and the reasons are twofold:
1). Despite the multitude of finishes, it doesn’t lose the qualities of the base spirit. Seagrass is still a rye whiskey through and through, whereas Armida, while delicious, was at times hardly identifiable as bourbon.
2). The flavor profile is way more approachable. The amaro and funky Jamaican rum components of Armida were interesting but challenging, and I found my bottle was quickly relegated to more of a mood pour than something I craved regularly. Conversely, Seagrass takes a barrel proof rye and adds lots of sweetness and tropical fruit notes without that extra funk. It’s a unique profile for sure, but one that I think anyone could appreciate and would find themselves reaching for often.
Overall, Seagrass is another great example of the innovative and impressive blending that I’ve come to expect from Barrell. Though I’m tasting from a sample, I do feel the higher $85 MSRP on this one is fair, and will probably be grabbing a bottle soon.
Additional Info: A blend of Canadian and Indiana rye whiskeys finished in Martinique rum, Madeira, and apricot brandy barrels