Sample and bottle photo courtesy of @bourbondipity_! Well, false Spring is here and I am going to thoroughly enjoy it before the next snow storm. Couldn't have asked for a better day out on the porch in New England sitting in the warm sun with Brittany & Fern. This review was completed in that atmosphere and might not be as complete as some of my indoor reviews. Let's see how the 16 year Seagrass stacks up against their original Seagrass release I still have open.
Company on Label: Barrell Craft Spirits
Whiskey Type: Finished Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Age: 16 years
Further identification: This is the first release of the older gray label Seagrass; bottle 1,487
Nose: Upon pouring the sample an immediate thick, sweet vanilla floats out of the glass. Oh yeah, first raising this to my nose I can tell this one is going to be a rye lover's delight. The finish feels more mellow than the Batch 1 Seagrass I have thoroughly enjoyed and this really let's the base whiskey shine. Lemongrass sweetness jumps out at me immediately with pear and apricot swinging in behind that aroma. Incredibly bright for something with an age statement such as this; none of the darker oak characteristics have taken this over which I'm glad to note. Soft fig slowly transitions to a brandy sweetness that is quite white grape prevalent. Surprisingly supple on the nose, I'm having a nice (yet challenging) time picking through this one. I keep coming back to this incredibly syrupy sweet, viscous vanilla aroma that makes this quite a treat to smell through. Sun-beat Spring florals dance loftily on deep inhales. Just a tiny hint of the raspberry sweetness I get out of the flagship release made it into this batch. Like I mentioned earlier I wouldn't be surprised if this was a shorter finishing time than the Batch 1 release. Some dust and chocolate round out the nose experience and really make me want to go for a sip now, which I think I shall. A soft breeze is blowing over the glass as I sip now which may be pulling some of the aromas I'd normally keep digging for off the surface. Pressing on I find a lot more sweet chocolate now. There's a faint gingerbread characteristic that combines with the chocolate to make something similar to a pirouline stick. The vanilla sweetness has layered in with a sweet prune. I've loved everything I have smelled so far. Golden flowers and tan brush are the two visuals I get from experiencing this. The empty glass smells of thick honey, lemon preserve and unbelievable floral sweetness; it feels like I've just stepped into a beautiful indoor garden, much like the one in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
Palate: Wow, this is much more powerful than the nose let on. Troves of plum, raspberry and apricot jam instantly coat my whole tongue in a well balanced sweet profile. The mouth coating and linger is incredibly thick & sweet. It sits with you like a spoonful of wild honey. Another sip draws more appealing sweets in vanilla bean ice cream, toasted marshmallow, raisin and a hint of light smoke on the back end. The palate presents quite bold, but the smoldering sweetness and refined edges of this give it the same elegance I enjoy on the flagship release. As more flavor builds I get a good bit of sweet oak influence starting to show up and evolve. Soft pepper coats the roof of my mouth while the stone fruit medley continues to bombard the tip of my tongue. Lemon zest jumps back in and comes across softer than most. Golden caramel is there if you're paying attention before the fruit flavors take over. My last sip is soft with plum, pear, praline and pepper. The linger is lovely with rye forward lemongrass, soft heather, and honeysuckle.
I'm into this. Barrell has managed to take what was already perfection in my eyes and tweaked it into something completely different that still titillates the senses. Well done! Having a Batch 1 next to me, I will follow up with a few sips of that to see how they compare. I think I'd give a slight nod to the OG Seagrass. Better fruit sweetness, more finish influence (especially the Madeira, wow), and less explosive / in your face in the proof department. All in all, a fantastic pair of whiskeys to experience today. I definitely enjoy all of this release.