Exploring Barrell Bourbon’s Tale of Two Islands and Amburana Cask Finish

by Stephen Hunt

Barrell Craft Spirits just released two new Bourbons that were finished in completely different casks with the intent of bringing completely different flavor profiles from the original blend.

First up is the Tale of Two Islands cask finish. Tale of two islands is a Jamaican rum that Barrell Craft spirits released in 2018, most notably it was a rum that was finished in Islay Scotch casks which are most known for their strong peaty notes. The two islands Bourbon is finished in that tale of two islands Rum cask. With a mash bill of 73% Corn, 23% Rye, and 4% Malted barley this bourbon comes in at 59.11% (118.22 Proof)

The nose on this is an immediate scent of black licorice that quickly fades into a vanilla nose and the prevalent rum funk. The only thing that seems to be missing is the smoky peat notes that I was so excited for. The Flavor was nutty and very vanilla forward but leaded into molasses a hint of toasted coconut and bakers chocolate. The finish was short but the last remaining prominent flavor was a pleasant cocoa mixed with the oak tannins.

Next was the Amburana cask finish which was exciting to me as I have heard about Amburana casks but as they are still relatively new to the whiskey industry they are not as frequently found as oak. The Amburana cask has a mash bill of 75% Corn, 21% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley, coming in at a surprising 58.21% (116.42 Proof).

The Nose of this immediately hid the alcohol content behind a nose of rich pear and mulling spices. The warmth of a holiday dinner was the only thing that came to mind. Leading into a rich almost syrupy body that delivered flavor notes of cinnamon apples, ginger, almond and clove. A deceptively smooth dram that caused a double take on the label to make sure I read the proof correctly. The finish was long and rich as each of the notes slowly faded away until I was left with a warm ginger note that drew me back for another sip.

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