Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Bourbon Whiskey, Tennessee, USA
Barrell Craft Spirits has spent five years developing the blend techniques and processes used in the latest release of Gray Label Bourbon. This blending and marrying process is slow, labor-intensive, and costly, but we feel our patience pays off with this truly special offering.
This release of Gray Label Bourbon is constructed from bourbons of varying ages made from five different mash bills. After marrying, the blend goes into casks made using 36-month air-dried staves that previously held Gray Label Bourbon, to rest and further mature.
Barrels made from 36-month air-dried staves are not often used in bourbon production, in part because they are much more expensive than casks made with kiln-dried staves. We view them, however, as a key component for achieving long, complex flavors and a rich mouth feel. The result of mingling in these unique casks is a mellow, sophisticated spirit that concentrates the flavor of a higher-proof bourbon into a lower-proof blend, with a gentle oxidative character and deep dried fruit notes. This is a bourbon with the complexity and density of age, without over-oaked chalkiness.
Appearance: Wildflower honey
Nose: Opens with some simple, bright fruit notes – dry cider, tart green plum, and banana pudding. These accompany the expected caramelized sugar notes of cinnamon donut and pecan pie. The tropical side slowly unfolds, revealing pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut milk. Peach cobbler and strawberry cheesecake reflect the fruitiness taking on a more cooked character.
Palate: Honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon make for fun and seldom-seen flavors in a bourbon. Mary Jane candies and dark chocolate ganache offer an earthy contrast. There is a gentle undercurrent of minerals such as celery salt, and snuffed beeswax candle.
Finish: Mouthwatering and refined with an initial burst of sweet tea and Meyer lemon. Rose jelly, raspberry pastilles and chardonnay provide a sophisticated floral signature.
With a splash of spring water: The whiskey grows a notch richer and creamier as white chocolate and cappuccino jockey to the fore. Water also liberates some savory notes of spoonbread, alpine breeze, and caramelized onion.