Barrell Rye Batch 2 – Producer: Barrell Craft Spirits. ABV: 58.75%. Age: 5 years. Price: $70-80.
The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family. This year, I was thrilled to welcome Barrell Craft Spirits‘ Rye Batch 2 to the celebration.
This latest offering from one of our favorite producers makes a big departure from its usual sources–and everyone’s. The batch blends the usual MGP-sourced rye with a highly unusual 5-year-old rye distilled in…wait for it…Poland.
Why Poland? Barrell founder Joe Beatrice told Baldo in a recent call: “I like American malted ryes, but they can be too cloying, too sweet. Rye grain in Poland has very different characteristics: it has all the rye flavors I like, but it’s not sweet.”
For the Barrell Rye Batch 2, then, he decided to blend what’s almost certainly America’s first transatlantic rye.
Like all of Barrell’s offerings, this one is cask strength, in this case 58.75% ABV. Fresh out of the bottle, it offers a delightful nose, where rye spice and rich caramel play atop a bed of corn fritters. The palate is fiery and heavy with rye grain, along with smoked ham, roasted yams, and a toffee note.
But this baby, good as it is at full strength, sings with a splash of water. Dominican cigar, used bookstore paper, and light orange emerge on the nose. The palate opens completely, offering candied orange, a bite of pine, smoked ham hock, and delicate milk chocolate, along with, yes, a subtle rye spice flair. My only complaint is that the finish was more abrupt than I would have liked, with or without water.
But overall, I’m beyond happy that this boy is here for the holidays. I’m wishing all of you a magical holiday season. Cheers, friends! – TM
The company graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.