Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Barrel Bourbon Cask Finish Series – Tale of Two Islands

A few weeks back we share a press release from Barrel Craft Spirts (BCS) about their Cask Finish Series. The limited-edition Series utilizes the company’s blending and finishing expertise to make bespoke blends of straight bourbon whiskeys with unique finishes. The Cask Finish Series will introduce two blends each year one of which is the Tale of Two Islands.

This release builds upon the legendary BCS 2018 Tale of Two Islands Rum: a Jamaican Rum matured in peated Islay single malt casks. For the 2023 offering, BCS chose to feature a blend of straight bourbons from Indiana (5, 6, & 9-year) and Maryland (5 & 6-year). The team then used the empty casks from the 2018 offering to finish the blend of straight bourbons.

Bourbon Review: Barrel Bourbon Cask Finish Series: Tale of Two Islands
ABV: 59.11% (118.22 Proof)
Age: 5 Years
Mash Bill: 
73% Corn, 23% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Bottled By: Barrell Craft Spirts,
Louisville, KY (USA)

The Nose: Not what I expected. The initial pulls reminds me of the seaside air with salt-water taffy being made somewhere in the distance. Secondary pulls from the glass reveal caramel and oak. I expected it to be sweeter then it was on the nose.

The Taste: Once again, not what I expected. There are notes of brown sugar and hearty oak with some underlying vanilla components. There is a subtle heat that intensifies on the finish of the first sip. Secondary sips are reminiscent of a bundt cake with an elongated sweet finish that should satisfy the rum drinkers. On my third sip there was flavor of cherry on top of the previous mentioned flavors.

The Conclusion: First let me preference this by saying I am not a big fan of finishing bourbon in other casks. I consider myself a traditionalist but there are some exceptions. but I find them far and few between. So when BCS sent me samples I was hesitant to hold them for review. When they I arrive I shared a picture and was talking to a friend from Texas that I will refer to as Double-D and he stated, “That is going to be a love or hate thing.” I agreed with him at the time, but I am torn on wether or not I like this. I don’t hate it, I don’t love it, but yet I kind of want to buy a bottle. If you like analyzing bourbons with friends this would be a pretty interesting group buy.

Score: 89
Price: $89.99 MSRP

Disclaimer: A sample was provided by Barrell Craft Spirits and this gracious offering did not affect our review or score. 

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