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Orphan Barrel: Rhetoric 22-Year-Old Bourbon

Posted on by Eric Burke

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Taylor Strategy for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

I did a little research this weekend. Well, I assume I did. The sample I received of Rhetoric 22 year old stated that it was "for research only." If this is research, I've done enough research in the last five years that I should be well on my way to a Ph.D. 

This particular set of research was on one of two samples I received last week. Diageo will soon be releasing the 23-year-old Rhetoric, and when they sent out the samples, they were kind enough to include a sample of the 22-year-old that I could use as a comparison. But guess what? I've never reviewed the 22 (or any of the Orphan Barrel series), so I decided to give it its own post. 

The Orphan Barrel series is predominantly made up of old whiskey that was supposedly "found" just lying there in the warehouse. And in that sentence are the two reasons why I hadn't reviewed any of them previously. First, I prefer my whiskey a bit younger than these releases have been. If I had to give a general range, I'd say that I tend to prefer my whiskey to be six to twelve years old with some wiggle room on each side and room for exceptions. So the idea of a 20-plus-year-old whiskey gives me pause. And second, I'm allergic to BS marketing stories. The thought that the tax man hasn't had Diageo reporting what is in each and every barrel is a bit ludicrous.

So with a price that hovers right around my Personal Price Ceiling™, I decided to take a pass whenever I saw it on a shelf. I figured I'd let the Whiskey Bros spend their money on that. And I'd grab a bottle of a bourbon that I'd like more since I don't buy whiskey to prove the size of my wallet or my nether regions.

That said, when the PR firm sent me an offer of a free taste, well, it was hard to say no. The price is right, and if I didn't like it it would probably be a small sample anyway.

Orphan Barrel: Rhetoric 22-Year-Old Bourbon

Purchase Info: This 100mL sample was generously proved by Taylor Strategy. I've seen it for sale online between $129 and $180.

Details: 22 years old. 45.2% ABV

Nose: Leather, citrus, vanilla a hint of chocolate and lots of oak.

Mouth: Nice and spicy with cinnamon candies to go along with the vanilla and oak. So much oak!

Finish: Warm and of medium length. Oak flavors linger along with leather, chocolate, vanilla, and nougat.

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Thoughts: I don't really like super old bourbons most of the time. They tend to be oak extract with little in the way of other flavors. But this one I like. Would I personally run out and buy it? Nope. $120-plus is a little outside the budget for me these days. But the flavors are rich and sweet. There is a nice spice to it. And overall, it is a really nice bourbon. 

So if dropping a Benjamin and a half on a single bottle of bourbon doesn't faze you, I'd recommend grabbing one should you see it. If you'd rather use that money for other things, I can't fault you there either.
 


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