Have you seen my infinity barrel project on Instagram? I've posted quite a few bottle dump videos to my reels, but haven't done much in the way of updating the progress here. I thought I'd review how the barrel is tasting as of now - I've tasted it many times before, as that is how we are determining what goes in. I'm doing everything by taste, much like I have done my infinity bottle, just on a larger scale. I do have some co-founders that helped me get this project off the ground and have contributed a significant volume of whiskey to this 53 gallon barrel.
If you would like to contribute to the barrel and get a taste for yourself please fill out the form on the Infinity Barrel tab of the website!
The latest additions came from @barrettimbibes who sent along some Penelope Bourbon and Still Austin for the barrel. Thank you Barrett!
Company on Label: Not Applicable!
Whiskey Type: Four Grain Bourbon Blend
Mash Bill Percentages: 72.18% Corn, 3.25% Wheat, 13.10% Rye, and 11.56% Malted Barley
Proof: Average Theoretical Proof: 102.65° Measured Proof: 107°
Age: Minimum age: 2 Years Average age: 9.29 Years Average age with barrel time added: 9.65 Years
Further identification: This is a once-used Russell's Reserve single barrel store pick from Rapid Liquors that is being re-filled as an infinity barrel; the whiskey at the time of review is current to the bottle list up to 4/10/2022
Nose: Rich, lovely caramel greets my nose as I first raise the glass. There's a candy sweetness that is quite prevalent in the slowly warming glass. Really, really sweet forward here on the nose - I'm in love. It reminds me of a warm pool of skittles candy. There's cherry, candied apple, strawberry and a nice undercurrent of sweet florals. Penelope might be onto something with their four grain blends as this is reminding me of their barrel strength releases a lot. The oak aromas almost feel tied into the sweet cherry notes; I get very little in the way of the traditional dustiness, vanilla, or tannin that oak can typically impart; it all seems to be fruit forward thus far. Digging deeper I find a nice black pepper note. Ooh, now the proof of the barrel is starting to show a bit. I really am trying to keep this right around 107 so it's approachable no matter the circumstance and the proof point is definitely doing it for me so far. A deep inhale to my left nostril shows off buttercream frosting and a distinct tobacco aroma. My right nostril gives way to bright vanilla, angel food cake, and a light cinnamon spice. Time for a sip!
Coming back to the nose I find an awesome return to a big cherry hots profile like I typically find on the higher proof Weller releases (which makes sense, there's a handful in there!). The sugary sweets I'm getting now remind me more of the airheads candy, specifically the cherry, which is making my mouth water remembering the flavors from years and years ago. Ahh - now we just transitioned into a creamy profile again with a Nikka coffee bean smell coming off the glass. I'm really quite thoroughly impressed with the quality and depth this pour is showing off. Coming back to the glass after a rest I am pleased to find a rich butterscotch, light pecan and creamy caramel once again. Nearing the end of the glass some dark, funky earth can be dug up if you really focus but it's quite faint in the background. The empty glass smells of honey, chocolate, Belgian waffles, and neat oak.
Palate: Right off the bat this presents a lovely mellow caramel, toffee and light fruit parfait profile. I'm most impressed by the linger that carries bright maraschino cherry through and plops down for a long visit in the center of my tongue. Another sip allows me to explore further as I find great layers of chocolate, plum, cinnamon raisin bread, and a creamy pie crust. The mouth coating is viscous, creamy and buttery; it reminds me a lot of some really good MGP barrels that I have tried. A sip and swish releases the candied fruit sweetness I was experiencing on the nose. At times the floral sweetness and the cherry hots profiles clash and almost negate each other - which is a definite hallmark of what whiskey blends tend to do. The end result is still an incredibly easy sipping experience and I haven't found a single offensive note in this glass yet. Coming back from a short rest reveals more peppery oak tones alongside strawberry shortbread. My last sip is incredibly pleasant with cherry juice, candied plum, and strawberry marmalade dancing on the tongue. The linger is long with a vanilla-forward tea making my gums tingle lightly. The pour finishes with a long, simmering array of sweet patisserie ingredients.
This barrel is tasting really damn good. I think I'd like to see it a little higher in proof/intensity before I'd consider upgrading it to a 5. There's plenty of headspace left in the barrel though - let's add some good stuff in so we can get really good stuff out!