American independent bottler Barrell Craft Spirits (BCS) continue to lead their respective pack when it comes to award-winning cask strength whiskeys. This label is not messing around nor simply trying to capitalise on the global spirits trend, with the stunning consistency and palpable passion to show for it. From every release comes the kind of bold and unique flavour profile that only these folks can cultivate, often through tireless experimentation. No two expressions are really quite the same and that gives loyal fans something to look forward to, over and over again. Should you be one of those fans, get excited because BCS are bringing a new range of ultra-premium whiskeys onto Australian soil. Your eyes might pop at the price points, but your palate will quickly understand.
The master craftspeople at BCS pulled from four different barrel collections for this impeccable blend of 16 and 17-year straight bourbons. It offers a multi-layered tasting experience of considerable complexity, with each barrel imparting its own distinct influence. One of the source whiskeys underwent additional maturation in toasted virgin American oak casks, generating all the more nuance and texture in turn. Like moving parts in a classic symphony, each individual source interplays to seamless perfection.
A nose of sugar cane, tobacco, and cinnamon reveals earthy undertones before shifting gears toward big fruit and toasted oak. The taste overlays notes of hoppy beer upon a bittersweet foundation, bringing creamy layers of pina colada, key lime pie, and banana custard into the fold, along with candied ginger and marmalade. It all segues into a massive finish, where stewed fruits cede into notes of oak spice, smoked cinnamon, incense, and cocoa powder. A splash of water brings out floral aromas of meadowsweet, elderflower, and chamomile, and dense flavours of coconut and curry.
Bottled in Kentucky at 113.54 proof, BCS Gold Label Bourbon is currently retailing in America for US$500. It’s set to arrive in Australia in the near future so start saving now!
The BCS Gray Label series consists of multiple releases, each one delivering its own unique profile. We can say with relative certainty that the following expressions are coming to Australia:
Gray Label Bourbon
Aged for 15 years and bottled at peak maturity, BCS Gray Label Bourbon was crafted to evolve in stages instead of revealing itself all at once. The nose is big and funky with notes of old oak, chalk dust, wood smoke, fruit, herbs, leather, chocolate, roasted banana, and other olfactory delights. At first sip comes the sweet and syrupy taste of classic cola, which is quickly counter-balanced by flavours of fruit, allspice, fennel seed, peppermint, and oak spice. Those sweeter elements fade into the background on a dry and oily finish, where notes of walnut, tobacco, and coffee spring to the fore. Add a splash of water to your dram to dial up the spirit’s fruity essence. This one was bottled at 100.4 proof cask strength.
Gray Label Seagrass
Before reaching your lips, BCS Gray Label Seagrass underwent a seriously involved journey, which began with two batches of 16-year-old 100% Canadian Rye barrels (one bright and one earthy). Portions of the first batch were finished in Apricot Brandy casks whilst portions of the second batch were finished in Martinique rhum barrels. As if that wasn’t enough, these respective portions were blended together, finished in Malmsey Madeira barrels, and then married back into the final blend at peak maturity.
Where one journey ends, another begins. Crack open the bottle to experience savoury aromas of rye spice, mustard seed, grilled cornbread, roated taro root, black olive, bark mulch, coffee, tobacco, and cinnamon. The palate opens on oily flavours of peanut and coconut and gets creamier as it goes, soon revealing notes of soy milk, cocoa butter, and grapefruit peel. At the finish, the apricot brandy cask influence comes out to play, bringing passionfruit, mirabelle plum, and banana peel along with it. All the while, an underbelly of marmalade, burnt marshmallows, and roasted chestnuts persists.
Gray Label Whiskey
Two selections of 24-year Canadian whiskey barrels—one fruity and one earthy—form the base of this incredible spirit. Portions of the first barrel spent extra time in Oloroso Sherry barrels whilst portions of the second barrel underwent additional maturation in Armagnac casks. When all the flavours were just right, BCS married everything together to create a rich and spicy whiskey, which combines candy sweetness with herbal earthiness to take on the drool-inducing qualities of a roasted Belgian waffle.
Floral, fruity, grassy, oaky, and nutty on the nose, the whiskey rolls over the palate in waves of butterscotch, coconut milk, honeydew, cider apples, and root beer. Earthy notes of olive oil, sunflower seed, and liquorice root kick in before cruising out on a herbal and spicy finish, which leaves a salty mineral essence in its wake. Add a splash of water to this 121.64 proof beast to bring out more fruit and flower on the nose and a tangy taste.
Barrel Craft Spirits
Having mastered the art of blending, BCS has a seemingly endless supply of delicious tricks up their proverbial sleeve. Through their commitment to unique sourcing and bold experimentation comes some of the most versatile and complex flavour profiles one will ever experience. We here in Australia can’t wait to get our hands and lips on the latest releases from this incredible brand. Ultra-premium in price and profile alike, each one is like a box full of chocolates in liquid form—you simply never know what you’re gonna get.