By Richard Thomas
Barrell Craft Spirits new Private Release series is built around the concept of building 24 separate and distinct whiskeys with common roots. All the AH releases use the same blend of “Kentucky Whiskey,” the oldest constiutent of which is an 18 year old, and giving them barrel finishes before bottling at cask strength. That is par for the course for the Barrell Whiskey line, but the difference here is that each release is small: only 150 to 200 bottles. In the case of AH-18, the secondary maturation was in an armagnac cask.
Seeing as how the proof on this whiskey is 120.48, I put some water in before proceeding. This armagnac-polished whiskey has a golden look to it, and a nose that smacks of apples, pears and vanilla, in a way that has a floral, syrupy quality to it. The flavor is mild, sweet and quite understated, with the fruitiness taking on a more dried than ripe fruits quality. The finish was somewhat peppery and woody.
The Private Release series is priced at $109 per bottle.