The follow up to two extremely acclaimed releases, Gold Label Seagrass features 20yr rye - a direct upgrade to the 16yr release that made up Grey Label Seagrass, and the no-age-statement release of the original Seagrass. It's cask strength, and features the same blend of Martinique Rum, Apricot Brandy and Madeira barrels for finishing and then blending. With a $500 price tag, it's clear that this whiskey exists with a specific drinker in mind, or as a special occasion purchase. With both Seagrass and Grey Label Seagrass scoring strongly in the past - including a perfect score for Grey Label - can this beat or match it? Let's find out.
Rich and syrupy on the nose, heavy on the DOLE fruit cocktail syrup, cream, hefty oak presence, tons of Apricot and a big ol' dose of bitters.
Rich on the palate, it's impressive how much more oak is present here over the 16yr Grey Label Seagrass. Hefty, syrupy, viscous and mega complex. The madeira, rum and apricot all scream their own verse, with plenty of time for a well composed chorus. Honey butter, sweet Apricot jam, toasty oak and caramel, herbal rye and a funky tobacco quality that ties together nicely with a jammy Madeira fruit salad on the back palate.
Long finish. Monumental hang time, it lasts for nearly forever. Syrupy, jammy, complex and oaky. It's less violently avant garde than the 16yr, but stands so nicely on its own with oak bringing a new piece of the puzzle to balance the syrupy sweetness and fiery grassiness of the Martinique rum.
To me, 16yr Grey Label was the perfect rye. This new incarnation, the 20yr Gold Label, brings a heavy helping of oak to the mix in a way that was more absent before. This brings a new level of balance to the picture, which many will applaud. If you enjoyed Grey Label but wished it drank a little more like "normal" whiskey - this is absolutely for you. The complexity is here, it's approachable, complex, enjoyable, has layers to dig through for days. Each finish shines, but doesn't stamp out the vibrancy of the others. It's damn good rye, in a family of damn good ryes. The Seagrass family presents a triple threat like few product families can do, and every sip is better than the last.
Disclosure: The producer provided this sample to review free of charge, and without expectation of review or rating.