Bottler: Orphan Barrel Whiskey Company/Diageo
Score: 92 points
This is the fourth in a series of annual Rhetoric Bourbon releases from Diageo’s Orphan Barrel brand, and like the previous three, comes from whiskey distilled at Louisville’s Bernheim distilleries between 1990 and 1993 and largely matured in the nearby warehouses at Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Each year’s release adds an extra year of maturation, allowing one to compare the differences between releases.
You can smell the nose on this Bourbon as soon as you open the bottle, as vanilla butter cream, caramel, a hint of apricot jam, pipe tobacco, and subtle spices rush out of the bottle to fill the air. The taste has great spices on top of oak, baking chocolate, and brown sugar, with clove, coriander, and white pepper taking the spotlight while honey and vanilla in the background create a good balance. The finish is long, dry, and sweet with oak and hints of caramel, lingering clove and nutmeg. It may be a bit woody for some whiskey lovers, but fans of older Bourbons will love it. (May, 2018)