The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company has released Rhetoric 21-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
An experiment in maturation, Rhetoric is re-released annually to explore the flavor characteristics imparted by each additional year the bourbon spends in wood, allowing for side-by-side comparisons.
Throughout the process, the base Rhetoric liquid remains unchanged, with progressive aging expected to continue through the release of Rhetoric 25-Year-Old in 2019.
The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company was created in 2014 to find and share forgotten barrels of whiskey with discerning drinkers, the company says. The five previous Orphan Barrel bourbons are the Barterhouse (20-Year-Old), Old Blowhard (26-Year-Old), Rhetoric (20-Year-Old), Lost Prophet (22-Year-Old) and Forged Oak (15-Year-Old).
Rhetoric stocks were found at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Ky. The bourbon was distilled in 1993 at the Bernheim Distillery, historically located at 17th and Breckenridge in Louisville, Ky., owned and operated by United Distillers.
Rhetoric 21-Year-Old is hand bottled in Tullahoma, Tenn.
Compared to last year’s release, Rhetoric 21-Year-Old is richer and more complex, the company says, with a fuller mouthfeel and slightly higher proof of 90.2 (45.1% ABV). Aromas of cherry, sweet tobacco, honey and leather build upon the oak, fruit, vanilla and caramel.
New tasting notes of sweet tobacco, dark chocolate, baking spices and honey complement the charred wood, caramel, vanilla and black pepper spice of Rhetoric 20-Year-Old, the company says.
Rhetoric 21-Year-Old will be available nationwide in allocated quantities for a suggested retail price of $100 for a 750 mL bottle.
The packaging for Rhetoric features a wood-grain label with gold accents, typography and imagery of a hummingbird. The background, reminiscent of the oak barrels in which the whiskey has aged, will become darker as each new, more mature offering is released.