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Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar Tasting: 2-20-14

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar Tasting: 2-20-14

We recently had the opportunity to taste the new Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon. This craft offering from Jefferson’s is the latest round of seafaring whiskey in this grand experiment by Trey Zoeller. We had the opportunity to discuss the project with Trey at this year’s Bourbon Classic in Louisville, KY. He told us that the latest Ocean is a blend of roughly seven and eight year old whiskeys that were strapped to the deck of an ocean going vessel, kept out at sea for a full ten months, then proofed down to 90. At roughly $70 per 750 ml, we were particularly eager to see the end result.

Bourbon Name: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged At Sea

Distiller: Jefferson’s

Proof: 90

Age: 7 – 8 Years

Year: 2014

Color: Copper like a mildly aged penny

Nose: The nose was slightly briny, in-line with its name, reminiscent of a warm, southern port city (Were we influenced by the name?). We also picked up notes of sweet caramel with a bit of rye in contrast.

Taste: The front is buttery, punctuated with a mild, muddled spice. The mouthfeel has a slightly elevated viscosity, providing a slightly thicker presence than many of the bourbons we have tried. Through the mid-palate, a pungent tobacco rises and continues into the finish. Time in the glass allows the sweeter notes to come through.

Finish: Some sweet vanilla oak presents itself amidst the prominence of pepper, tobacco, and a surprising heat that did not show on the front and mid-palates.

Overall Rating: ( 87 / 100 ) Try Before You Buy (It may not appeal to the sweeter palate)

The Jefferson’s Ocean is a good option for the afficianado of a bourbon exhibiting the more savory notes of tobacco, spice, and barrel. At 90 proof, this whiskey seems a bit hotter than some whiskeys we enjoy at 10 or more additional proof points. The sweeter notes of this bourbon are enveloped by the more savory elements. As one of our very dear friends said, “It’s like eating a shortbread cookie while wrapped in a scratchy wool blanket!” – MW

2 Responses to Bourbon Review: Jefferson’s Reveals a Whole New Ocean!

  • This offering has always struck me as odd. I guess you file it under “experiment”, but both times I’ve seen it released I haven’t been the least bit temped to try it (or try to locate). I don’t know feels gimicky. That’s coming from someone who generally enjoys most of the Jefferson’s offerings. Do you think that this holds its own quality-wise in its price point with other more established labels?

    • Nick, We don’t think that it holds up well quality-wise compared to other bourbons in the same price range. We think there are two issues with this product. After tasting both versions we’re starting to think the ocean aging may be bringing out the harshness from the oak prematurely. Second, we’re a bit concerned about rectifiers in general. As much as we loved Jefferson’s 17 and 18 year presidential we feel that all other presidential releases have been subpar. With the increased popularity of bourbon lately there are probably fewer cream of the crop barrels available for the rectifiers to purchase from larger distillers. That could make it rather rough for rectifiers to match the quality in the future. Hopefully we are wrong because we really like some of these rectifiers like Jefferson’s.

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