Barrell Gray Label "Release 4" 15 Year Cask Strength Bourbon
The fourth release in Barrell's well aged "Gray Label" series, this bourbon is a blend of whiskies from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, all aged at least 15 years and bottled at a cask strength of 50.2% abv.
The 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.
The palate's 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 on the finish, 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.