Barrell’s New Armida Whiskey A 3 Cask Finish Blend You’d Never Expect

Barrell Craft Spirits, in their rise to becoming one of America’s best independent bottler brands, seemingly knows how to work cask finishing magic across a range of their offerings. One of the latest just now hitting retail, Armida, certainly is capable of fitting the bill.

The new Barrell Armida whiskey, according to those behind it, started as a series of questions for the Barrell team as they considered how “make a dream whiskey come to fruition: What flavors and aromas are we most excited to find in bourbon? Where in the world of spirits do those flavors exist? Can we finish and blend whiskeys to tease the subtle flavors we are looking for from the edges of perception into the forefront?”

Barrell Armida

Barrell Armida (image via Barrell Craft Spirits)

The end result, after a year of experimentation, is a blend of three straight bourbon whiskeys finished separately in Pear Brandy, Jamaican Rum, and Sicilian Amaro Casks. As the brand puts it, “the ripe, floral pear notes provide a soft entrance into a whiskey that is adorned with hints of spice and arid citrus derived from the Amaro casks (and also the toasty bourbon itself). This mélange of flavor is framed by the tropical sweetness found in rum finished whiskeys.

“Armida is a journey for the palate: from a brisk northern orchard to an ancient island, it ends up exactly where we intended, with an immensely complex and satisfying whiskey.”

“With Armida, we set out to finish and blend whiskeys that tease the intended subtle flavors from the edges of perception into the forefront,” said Barrell Craft Spirits founder Joe Beatrice in a prepared statement. “We’re passionate about exploring opportunities to source and blend outside the box, and to showcase the world’s most exciting spirits. Armida helps to further advance our vision of the next chapter of whiskey in America.”

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Beatrice, the brand noted, was “intimately involved with every step of the production process, using his exceptional palate to choose and create great spirits alongside Tripp Stimson, the Chief Whiskey Scientist and Director of Distillery Operations, who joined BCS in 2017 after having spent nine years with Brown Forman Corporation. National Director Will Schragis, an experienced sommelier, rounds out the team with an active role in product development.”

As plans stand now this whiskey is heading to market as a limited edition release of just 3,700 bottles, each bottled at 56.05% ABV and pricing around $90 per 750 ml bottle. You’ll find some official tasting notes for it below.

  • Appearance: Bright gold with a pale rim.
  • Nose: Opens with creamy and sweet notes of carrot cake, dulce di leche, and chestnut honey. The pear brandy’s influence inflects the core aroma, with poached pear leading blackberry and dried lime peel. Shimmering at the edges are countless herbs and dusty spices. Notes familiar to Sicilian amari, such as fennel seed, aniseed, nutmeg, and cacao are there. As Sicily was once part of the Duchy of Savoy licorice, wormwood and chamomile are encountered here, in Savoy’s tradition of genepy and absinthe.
  • Palate: Lush sweetness is kept in check by some sandy tannin and high strength. Here, the rum takes center stage, with blackstrap molasses, sambuca, and olive brine arriving first. The rich dark character builds with date and chipotle leading into pipe tobacco and walnut. The amaro is never far behind, exhibiting licorice root, gentian, green cardamom and kola nut.
  • Finish: Green almond enriches an otherwise dry finish of black tea and slate.