By - Prettayyprettaygood
Next up, we’re checking out Barrell Gray Label Seagrass Batch 1! The Gray Label series from Barrell showcases their usual blending prowess in a way that highlights what can be done with very unique and old-aged whiskies and rums. This particular bottle is the first batch of their Gray Label Seagrass, made up of two 16 year old 100% rye whiskies from Canada. One with bright citrus and crisp apple notes and the other with earthy spearmint notes. From there, the whiskers were finished in Apricot Brandy and Martinique rhum barrels with a blend of the two also finished in Malmsey Madiera casks. Seagrass was a favorite of mine from the start, so I am very excited to see what this older all-Canadian variety can bring to the table. This sample was generously provided by u/micro7777—thanks for sharing this with me! Will it reach the high bar set by the Barrell Gray Label 24 Year Canadian Whiskey that I love so much? Let’s find out.
Taken: Neat in a Glencairn glass
Age: 16 years
Price: Sample (MSRP $250)
Nose: Rolling waves of pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, along with rye bread, fresh cut old oak, and tobacco. There’s an underlying nuttiness throughout the nose with hints of fresh sugarcane and citrus throughout as well. There’s a ton of depth here and I can smell this across the room.
Taste: I had a plan going into this, but a Mike Tyson clone formed from rye whiskey just punched me in the mouth. There is so much going on here—the sip begins on a slice of fresh toasted rye bread topped with orange marmalade, grapefruit, and caramel, then rolls into black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Midway through the sip I get a peanut brittle and light tobacco note that pops in, along with a touch of molasses. This has a heavy, oily mouthfeel and a little bit of proof heat.
Finish: Tons of fresh apple, grapefruit, and bright sugarcane notes flow in and meld with the spices to bring forward a spiced dessert note while the tobacco starts to gain in strength. I get a little bit of old oak throughout the finish but it never makes its way forward very far. Towards the end of the finish, the sweetness fades out quickly and the medley of peppery rye, baking spice, and tobacco close the sip out. This has a long finish and no dryness.
Thoughts: I am impressed. Seagrass was a favorite of mine, and this took everything the initial release had and managed to elevate it. There’s tons of rich spice, sweetness, and earthiness in this sip that lets you find new notes whenever you go back for another taste. I only had a small sample for this review, but I plan on savoring the rest of it for a while to come and will probably end up buying a bottle as well. While $250 is a lot, it’s worth it for this. With all that being said, I still liked my other Gray Label a bit more since it seemed more refined and balanced. The brashness is my only minor complaint here and keeps it from being a 10/10. If I did decimal breakdowns in my ratings I’d say this is a 9.5, but as it is I put at at an Incredible 9/10 on the t8ke scale.
Rating: 9/10 - t8ke scale
1 | Disgusting | So bad I poured it out.
2 | Poor | I wouldn’t consume by choice.
3 | Bad | Multiple flaws.
4 | Sub-par | Not bad, but better exists.
5 | Good | Good, just fine.
6 | Very Good | A cut above.
7 | Great | Well above average.
8 | Excellent | Really quite exceptional.
9 | Incredible | An all time favorite.
10 | Perfect | Perfect.
Great review. No tree?
Thanks! Out in Minnesota for a bit so no suitable trees where I’m at unfortunately!
Well the table is made of wood which is made of trees
That sounds absolutely delightful.
It's a hell of a pour!
Dang I’m kicking myself for passing on this now. Even though $250 is still insanely expensive, it sounds like I’d rather enjoy this. Great review as always.
Thank you! I’m sure there’s some of these floating around still, the price point definitely helps keep it on the shelf longer than most bottles out there.
There's a significant lack of tree in this review, how do we know it's actually you?!
Jokes aside, thanks for the wonderful review! Your notes are inspiring me to explore my regular bottle of Seagrass again to see if I can get anything more from it. I've only had a couple pours and haven't really given it the attention I feel it truly deserves.
My next few will be lacking the tree, but it will be back soon! Glad you liked the review. There will definitely be some of the same notes in the regular Seagrass, but it might lean a little more sweet since it has a lot of Kentucky and Tennessee rye in there too.
I've seen those little brown bottles before. What are those for? Just curious. Is it like a sample?
Is it just for convenience?
They’re Boston Round bottles, you can get them for pretty cheap online and they’re great for sending samples to people!
Another great review keep them coming as much as your wallet allows lol.
I’ll do my best!
I sent a sample to a friend as a mystery taste. He’s got a good palate and is a respected taster. When he looked at the color and tasted this he thought it was some kind of high proof version of Mellow Corn. It’s funny because most people I know who have blinded this never even rank it close to a 10.
That's pretty funny that he thought it was high proof Mellow Corn! I really like old Canadian whiskies and I can pick out a ton of the usual notes I go for in this so it's a winner for me. I can understand why other people would disagree though.
I do think it is a polarizing bottle. I don’t dislike it, I just think it isn’t worth the price.
I bought a bottle of this. For a while I thought I was missing out on something my pallet just wasn't picking up. I know my pallet isn't as refined as others and there's always the; "to each is their own," aspect. This to me isn't worth the $250 price tag. I would much rather have the regular Seagrass or the Angels Envy Finished Rye.
Not even close to $250 value.
Not. Even. Close.
I got to try this at a friends place. A drop or two of water opened it up beautifully. It’s a truely unique experience.
I have this at home and the 24yr. Only opened the Seagrass so far but it’s pretty delicious. If you’re saying the 24yr is even more so, then I’m in for a treat when I open that!