Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 90 Proof, 45% ABV
Much of the current bourbon craze is driven by good old fashioned story-telling. Of course, Pappy’s has a good story about an old distillery, and it’s impossible to find. Four Roses makes great stories with their various flavor combinations (OBSV, OBSK, OESK, OBSO, OESO, etc.). A little extra-aging of your regular juice in different barrels, from cabernet to cognac, sherry, port and more, also makes for more interesting stories. People want to buy a great story, and Trey Zoeller of Jefferson’s Bourbon has come up with one of the best and most unique to date. They send barrels out to sea for at least four crossings of the equator and over 30 ports of call. The process certainly does seem to accelerate the aging process, what with rolling of the ocean waves and tropical heat. Many claim to detect the flavors of the sea, but I was skeptical about that—until I got my hands on a bottle (at discount from a store where the regular college crowd may not have been aware of the awesome story, or didn’t want to fork up $80 for it.)
Medium dark honey
As stated earlier, I was skeptical about the sea story actually adding ocean flavors to the liquid, but even with my nose far away from the glass I could detect a distinct briny ocean brreze (it could have been psychosomatic). Up close, it dissolved into a more typical bourbon caramel and brown sugar.
Waves of strong oak and bitter wood notes crash against the lips on first tasting, making it drink much older than its years (I can only assume, since I don’t see an age statement anywhere.) The essence of wood recalls McKenna 10 Year Old. The mouth feel is on the thin side, not as luscious as I usually prefer. A medium long finish fades into peppery warmth going down the throat. Right off the bat, I don’t get the salty sea tastes that most aficionados cite, and that the briny nose promises. After adding a touch of water, the bitterness smooths out and more of the spice comes to the front, and a salty caramel emerges in the back. Overall, I’d say this is a well-balanced and elegant bourbon. I couldn’t help but put on my Yacht Rock music mix to go along with it. So, come sail away with me.