Diageo recently unveiled the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company, which is an interesting outfit dedicated to locating lost and forgotten barrels of whiskey from around the world. And the first two bottles to be released are a couple of unusually old Kentucky bourbons: the 20-year-old Barterhouse Whiskey and the 26-year-old Old Blowhard Whiskey. While most bourbons tend to peak between roughly six and 10 years, a small handful of bourbons seem to get better with age. And that’s what Diageo is touting here, bottling a couple of forgotten whiskey stocks found at the old Stitzel-Weller Warehouses in Louisville, KY.
Barterhouse Whiskey is composed of 86% corn, 8% barley and 6% rye. The company describes it thusly: “Beginning with a soft and elegant nose reminiscent of warm spice, biscuit and buttercream, Barterhouse Whiskey pays off cunningly with a mellow taste of roasted grains and charred oak. The taste concludes with a pleasurable finish of spice and brown sugar.” Diageo has done a lot with the packaging here, as the label includes a fox donning a hat and holding a briefcase. So there’s that. 45.1% ABV / $75
Old Blowhard Whiskey
This whiskey was first barreled in 1987, and it also features a mash bill of 86% corn, 8% barley and 6% rye. According to the company: “it contains exuberant, rich flavors with undertones of smoke and honey followed by a gentle finish – dry and spicy with a hint of orange peel.” Bourbon that old is rarely gentle and has a tendency toward oak overkill, but perhaps they’ve got something special on their hands. For the price tag, we sure hope so. 45.35% ABV / $150
Both whiskeys are bottled in Tullahoma, TN and limited supplies will begin hitting store shelves in March. We’re anxious to sample these interesting bourbons to see how each held up to so many years in oak. If you, dear reader, find yourself with a bottle in the meantime, please weigh in with your thoughts.