Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Finished in a Madeira Barrel Review

Review by Mark Pringle |

87 Highly Rated Bourbon General Review of Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 (Madeira Barrel)

As soon as I heard about the release of Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Finished in a Madeira Barrel, I went directly to the Barrel Craft Spirits Barcart to purchase a bottle. You have to understand that I buy any whiskey, bourbon, or rye that is finished and Madeira barrels because I grew to love this wine during my September 2018 anniversary trip to Madeira. For those who do not know, Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal off the coast of Africa. Madeira wine is their equivalent to mainland Portugal’s Port (specifically Porto). However, avoid the mistake of likening Madeira wine to Port while in Madeira. The Madeirans do not like that. Anyway, as soon as Barrell announced they were adding rye to its already expansive Private Release offerings, I was on board. Let’s review this Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 blend of Indiana and Canadian whiskey.

Review of Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Finished in a Madeira Barrel

Front label of Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Madeira Barrel

Rating: 87


Ratings breakdown based on a 100 point scale.

  • 90-100 Exceptional
  • 80-89 Very Good
  • 70-79 Average
  • 60-69 Below Average
  • 50-60 Drain Pour

Detailed Tasting Notes

Nose Review - Rating: 87

The nose begins with green apples, deeply rich, dark, and smokey caramel. Herbal rye spice fights to the surface as you nose this heavenly aroma. Wonderfully full-bodied and semi-sweet, the scent is lively. Brown sugar spice. No ethanol. Honey. I didn't pick this out initially, but after sipping on Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Madeira Finish for a while, dried figs came through on the nose, suggesting that this was finished in a Malvasia or Malmsey Madeira barrel. I'm curious to know if my nose is accurate.

Palate Review - Rating: 89

The Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Madeira Barrel palate is what I would refer to as sweet heat. It is bold and very spicy. This rye starts by drinking every bit of 115.06 proof and probably a little more. This is a lovely combination of a Madeira finish and a rye whiskey. Burnt brown sugar and floral potpourri seem to dominate the mid-palate. The core whiskey is a light-bodied rye that is not as oily as I have come to expect from a Barrell product. However, it does have some density. In many ways, flavor-wise, this is a less intricate version of Seagrass, which is a good thing. Seagrass Batch 1 was one of the most complicated whiskeys I have ever tasted. It had almost too many notes. Barrell Rye 1M20 has a similar base profile, with the Madeira cask finish, but does not have an overwhelming palate. Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 could easily be an everyday drinker. I think this is a PERFECT finished rye because it maintains the rye profile with the finish overwhelming it. Nice job Barrell.

Finish Review - Rating: 85

The finish of Barrell Rye Private Release 1M20 Madeira Barrel is interesting because it starts sweet but then goes completely dry while maintaining some of the spicy floral notes of the mid-palate. It has an extended radiating warmth that is comforting.

Uniqueness Review - Rating: 87

This is another unique experience by Barrell Craft Spirits. The only problem is that 1M20 has some Seagrass traits. However, I am a Madeira Cask fiend and have never had a finished rye this nuanced. The rye is evident and the Madeira wine flavor is there as well.

Value Review - Rating: 78

Generally speaking, Barrell's whiskeys become better values each day. However, instead of an MSRP of $109.99, I would have loved to have seen this priced similarly to their Big 4 at $79.99.

Author: Mark Pringle
Smell IS taste. I am just a guy who has been hit with the bourbon bug and who has come to the conclusion that life is too short to drink average tasting bourbons. Go Gators!
My External Website (External Website Opens in New Window)


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