Review: Barrell Armida

The folks at Barrell Craft Spirits aren’t content with a simple secondary finish in one cask type. Their Armida release is a blend of three bourbons finished separately in pear brandy, rum, and Sicilian amaro casks. Armida comes from Barrell founder Joe Beatrice’s mother’s formal name. Memories of her family’s farm in the northeast US inspired the creation of this release. I love when there’s a real nostalgic drive behind a release.

Bottled at a cask strength of 112.10 proof, Armida is crisp on the nose, with hints of freshly picked pear, citrus, and aromatic vanilla. There’s a bit of licorice thanks to the Amaro casks. Underneath are more familiar bourbon notes of caramel and spice. The palate kicks off with a rich rum character, which was somewhat missing on the nose. We’re talking big hints of molasses and herbs as well as orchard fruit. Anise and tannins develop in the mid-palate alongside vibrant citrus. A touch of nuttiness leads into the long, warming finish.

There are good whiskies and there are the ones you really want to kick back and experience slowly. Armida is the latter. There is so much going on in the glass. I especially enjoyed the playfulness between the crisp orchard fruit and the herbal and rum-like qualities. Though its sum is greater than the individual parts, like any great blend, Armida also excels in its development of flavors. Every sip reveals something new. We all know I’m a Barrell fanboy, but still – this whiskey is damn enjoyable on all levels.

Thanks to Barrell for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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