Over a short period of time, Barrell has released over 122 different single barrels of American Whiskey (not bourbon) finished in a range of barrels that previously held wine, rum, brandy, and other spirits. This is a huge experiment in finishing American whiskey that probably has not been done before at this scale. While the extensive list of finishes is intriguing, the Barrell Armagnac Cask Finish Whiskey was the one that immediately grabbed my attention, and I was able to get a bottle from barrel AH18. Armagnac finishes are particularly exciting for me because some of the best bourbons I’ve ever had (e.g., Bardstown Bourbon Company Chateau de Laubade Finish Bourbon and Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon) were finished in Armagnac casks.
This American Whiskey is also interesting on its own. Since it’s not called bourbon, it probably means that it was A) aged in used oak and/or B) distilled to over 160 proof and is considered light whiskey. As a result, the underlying American whiskey is going to be very different from bourbon, although I suspect that it still uses a bourbon mash (> 51% corn). Regardless of the details, smell and taste are the most important, so let’s find that out in this Barrell Whiskey Private Release Armagnac Cask Finish review.