Orphan Barrel

Review: Whoop & Holler American Whiskey (Orphan Barrel) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

Image courtesy of Taylor Strategy, for Orphan Barrel Distilling Co.

ABV
42.0%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 28 Years
Recipe
84% Corn, 8% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller George Dickel (Tullahoma, Tennessee)

This orphan barrel comes from Diageo's George Dickel distillery, and, consequently, we get more information about the whisky - mashbill, how it was distilled (and charcoal mellowed), and aged for 28 years. It's an old bourbon! This is the ninth release of the Orphan Barrel series, which showcases limited edition American whisky. By the way, Whoop & Holler is an enthusiastic howl.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Rich dried fruit, and lots of oak. Dried pineapple, plum, brown sugar, mulberries, marzipan, toast, and lots of rich oak. The palate has some fairly clean corn, applesauce, pear, and a lot of spices and oak on the finish. If you drink this quickly – it feels over oaked. However, I drink quite slowly, and this is very nice – my favorite of the orphan barrels. The grain is rich, the oak is buttery and creamy, and it is balanced with a nice array of fruit. Quite light overall, given the low ABV. I think this would be pretty awesome at higher strength. Creamy, oaky finish – and ever so lightly bitter, which I like. I quite like it!

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very Low, based on $300.


Review: The Gifted Horse American Whiskey (Orphan Barrel) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
57.5%
Aging
New Charred Oak
Recipe
N/A
Distiller N/A (Indiana & Kentucky)

The back of the label describes this as “a whopper of a mistake” – a blend of 39% 17 year oldKentucky straight bourbon with 61% 4 year old Indiana corn whisky. Was it actually a mistake? Marketing stories make you wonder but those blending rooms probably could afford some mistakes in mixing...either way, it's that taste that matters anyway. It is another Diageo "Orphan Barrel" - a set of somewhat rare and somewhat limited releases.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L6012K1001

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

The nose has some terrific dry grain on the nose, oak supreme, tangy dried apricot, dried peach, and light spices. It is still light and fruity, yet contains much of the richness of the heavier earthy and dried fruit notes. The grain notes are intriguing – I even get some dried wheat. It goes down very easily for the strength. The palate is sweet, with lots of vanilla and dried corn. Light spices carry on in the background, playing second fiddle to the oak. Grain and oak laden on the finish. It is very enjoyable, and soft for a cask strength bourbon, no major flaws, but not that interesting.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $87.


Review: Orphan Barrel Barterhouse 20 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45.1%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak; 20 Yrs
Recipe
~86% Corn, 6% Rye, 8% Malted Barley
Distiller New Bernheim (Heaven Hill - Louisville, Kentucky)

This bourbon is part of Diageo’s “orphan barrel” series, where a number of “orphan” barrels have been put together for a number of bourbon releases ranging in age from 15-26 years old from different distilleries. Of course, barrels aren’t just “lost” but the range has released a number of decent whiskies. This whisky, despite remarks trying to claim some link to Stitzel Weller (where the famous Pappy Van Winkle bourbons were distilled), was produced at the Bernheim distillery. This whisky is aged for 20 years, which is a very long time for a bourbon, which is typically in the range of 5 years – these whiskies are both very hard to find and very expensive.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Nose: Oily and fruity, with significant menthol notes coming right off the nose. Corn husks, maple, dried apricot, and spices – nutmeg, leather, pralines, coconut, buttercream, cherries, strawberries, wood smoke – this nose develops! Very pleasant, lightly sweet. Creamy and nutty, with maple and oak coming as it opens up.

Taste: Dried cherries, leather, and some oily corn held tight by some tannins although it isn’t very oaky all things considered. The palate is long, with the tastes taking their time to develop well. Overall, very nice – oily too in texture and pleasing in flavour – but not spectacular. Not as rich on the palate as the nose.

Finish: Barrel char, sweet corn, vanilla – slightly sour and tannic. Earthy oak does take its time, and the tannins fade and you’re left with something quite nice. However, the feel is still a bit puckered from the tannins.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $95.