Friday, September 3, 2021

Barrell Seagrass Rye Whiskey Finished in Martinique Rum, Madeira and Apricot Brandy Barrels


- $90
- 118.4 Proof
- Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee & Canada

This is an interesting bottling, and one that I was on the fence about buying, quite honestly. There's a lot going on here.  Not only is this a blended rye sourced from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Canada, but the finishes are kind of crazy and unique. It all sounds like it would make for a very sweet, almost sugary whiskey, particularly with the Madeira and apricot brandy finishes. What makes this interesting, though, is the Martinique Rum finish.

I've had rum Agricole one time in my life. It was very well-aged, and I absolutely hated it. It wasn't a sweet rum, and to me it had the very distinct taste of burning paper. The idea of a whiskey finished in such a barrel certainly did not appeal to me. However, I know that the Agricole influence wouldn't be anywhere close to what I tasted then, and the fact that it doesn't necessarily lend to the sweetness told me it might actually help temper the influence of the Madeira and apricot brandy barrels. In the end, the intrigue got the best of me, and I decided to give this one a try.

Not unexpectedly, the nose was very sweet up front, with the apricot being very noticeable, particularly dried apricots. I also got a bit of sweet orange peel. But, behind those sweet citrus notes was a layer of smoke, I'm guessing from the Agricole rum finish, that oddly worked very well with the apricot. It also had a bit of a black pepper spice to it to remind me that this is a rye whiskey.

On my first sip, my initial thought was, "Holy apricot!"  It was nearly all I could taste on the tip of my tongue, this strong apricot jam flavor. It was very tasty, but it was also very sweet and almost syrupy in flavor. I also got some baked apple and a bit of a pie crust note, which was very enjoyable, but again, very much on the sweet side.

The sweetness, however, isn't necessarily a sugary type of sweetness. It comes across more as rich and jammy. I got a pastry note that reminded me of an apricot Danish, with a bit of a powdered sugar icing kind of flavor to follow.

Beyond these sweet citrus and pastry notes, though, I did get notes of pine and cinnamon, again reminding me that the base grain here is definitely rye. Also, I didn't get it at first, but about halfway through the bottle I started noticing this smoky note that I really enjoyed. It added another layer and a bit more complexity. Plus, the smoke was delicious with the apricot. I've never had smoked apricot before, but if I were to try it, my hope would be that it comes out tasting like this.

While this was a very sweet rye, it nonetheless scratched a certain itch. Sometimes I get in the mood for something on the sweeter side, and this whiskey found a bit of balance with the spice of the rye and that funk from the Martinique rum barrel influence. I found that I really liked it for something different and unique, and I would absolutely get this again.

Grade: B+

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