Barrell Private Release J552 Single Cask Rum
The Barrell Private Release Series is a project in detailed blending on a scale small enough to allow extreme precision. It lets the fantastic blenders at Barrell exercise their blending expertise while maintaining a single barrel-like scale controlled entirely by hand and by palate. The goal is always to maximize the best attributes of each component. Every ounce of every ingredient changes the overall character of these blends, as does the barrel that each one is aged in. For that reason, these barrels take months to polish and perfect. Each release is a unique blend of rums from Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana, as well as Rhum Agricôle from Martinique. Once created, these blends are married in single casks, many of which were previously used for other spirits and/or wines.
This batch, J552, is finished in a pear brandy barrel and is anchored by pot still rum from Jamaica's Clarendon distillery, which makes up 55% of the blend. On the nose, that tell tale Jamaican fruitiness is immediately apparent, with mango and grilled pineapple, supported by a very Demerara-heavy hit of clove, liquorice, cola, and leather. Though there maybe other distillates from Guyana at play here, the signature of the Port Mourant double wooden pot still is unmistakable. On the palate, those elements are still present, but are much more subtle than one might expect from the big nose and hefty proof (63.97% abv). The Barbados rum certainly plays a part in this, rounding out and sweetening the whole affair, with the distinct taste of a bear claw pastry along with pear (hello pear brandy finish), mango, liquorice, and a hint of smoke. On the finish, there is an unexpected brightness that starts it off, perhaps the only sign of the Agricole rum from Martinique, though no really distinct Agricole flavors really come into play. It then fades on hazelnut, almond, and milk chocolate.