Five years along on Joe Beatrice’s foray into the independent bottling business, his Barrell brand has not taken its foot off the creative pedal. Famous for its unique and truly limited batch releases, each new bottling is markedly different from the rest. Sourcing from distilleries in Indiana and Kentucky, Barrell augmented its sequential Bourbon batch releases with private picks as well. Now, Barrell has gotten into the Rye game, and this second batch is anything but traditional. 5 year-old MGP Rye aged in Indiana and Kentucky joins a 5 year-old 100% Polish Rye aged in new charred barrels.
Had someone poured me a glass from the bottle, I would have been very excited to taste this. However, Barrell Rye Batch #2 arrived as a surprise in the mail in an unmarked bottle by a friend. I tasted this unique Rye completely blind, and my tasting notes below were recorded without any knowledge as to the whiskey’s identity.
- DISTILLER: A sourced blend of Indiana (MGP) Rye and Polish 100% Rye whiskey bottled by Barrell Bourbon.
- MASH BILL: Polish malted rye, Indiana rye and malted barley
- AGE: 5 Years
- YEAR: 2017
- PROOF: 117.6 (58.8% ABV)
- MSRP: $89.99
NOSE: Buttered Cornbread | Caramel
TASTE: Mild Sweetness | Bitterness gives way to a substantial dryness
FINISH: Very long and enjoyable
SHARE WITH: Rye fans looking for something different or interesting would appreciate trying Barrell Rye. I wouldn’t consider this representative of the category, which is precisely what Beatrice is going for with these one-off releases.
WORTH THE PRICE: $90 or so is a lot of money for me to spend on a roll of the dice. This is going to be very different from what you’re generally familiar with when it comes to Rye. I suspect some will feel it’s worth it, and others may not.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Due to the uniqueness of each release (and in particular this one) I would suggest trying it at a bar first.
OVERALL: First, the obvious: I had no idea this was a rye. In fact, I guessed this was a Knob Creek Bourbon pick. The higher proof tricked me in to thinking there was more age on this than its 5 years. It also had more corn sweetness than rice spice to me, and no hint of the pickle juice that I tend to get from MGP Ryes. All that being said, I thought it was an interesting whiskey worth exploring.
I really like Barrell and how they choose to innovate. It will be very exciting to see how Barrell Ryes evolve from release to release and I look forward to tasting some more of them.
Rye Batch 002 is our second release that expands on our interpretation of a traditional rye whiskey, combining two very diverse ryes. We selected barrels of a 100% malted rye distilled and aged in Poland for 5 years in new charred #3 oak barrels from World Cooperage. We then blended it with an Indiana high malted barley rye that was aged in Indiana and Kentucky for over 5 years. The Polish Rye is dry, with a rich nutty flavor, and pairs beautifully with the lush Indiana Rye, resulting in a sweet and savory balance of malted chocolate and roasted cashews.
- Rye Whiskey
- Distilled in Poland and Indiana
- Aged in Poland, Indiana and Kentucky
- Crafted and bottled in Kentucky
- 117.5 proof cask strength bottling
- 5 years old
- Indiana rye was aged in new charred oak barrels
- Polish Rye was aged in new charred #3 oak barrels from World Cooperage
- Mash bills: Polish malted rye, Indiana rye and malted barley
- Appearance: Sienna with polished brass highlights
- Nose: The earthy base underscores complex sparks of other aromas. Initial Linzertorte, Ovaltine and s’mores chocolate notes are followed by spicy hints of cardamom, gingerbread and dried currants. With time, violet and orchid floral phrases surface counterbalanced by savory roasted cashew.
- Palate: Cinnamon and malt lead a strong, spicy arrival balanced by pops of bright lemon zest, sweet caramel, and soft mulling spices.
- Finish: The palate is left with waves of black pepper and seawater salinity in a gently smoldering ball of spices.
With a splash of spring water
Water pushes back the earth and spice to reveal white currant syrup, muscat wine, and apricot on the nose along with Assam. The balance on the palate shifts sweeter, revealing salt-water taffy, salmiak, chocolate eclair as well as perfumed notes of thyme.
Rye Batch 002 is our second release that expands on our interpretation of a traditional rye whiskey, combining two very diverse ryes.