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Jefferson's Ocean Aged Rye, Blood Oath Pact No. 8 Calvados Finished, & More [New Releases]

Jefferson's Ocean Aged Rye, Blood Oath Pact No. 8 Calvados Finished, & More [New Releases]

April 8, 2022 –––––– David Fleming, , , ,

While barrel-finishing has long been part of the scotch and Irish whiskey world, it has become increasingly widespread in the bourbon space, as distillers in Kentucky and beyond turn to a secondary cask for added flavor. Get to know the most common finishing casks and which bourbons capture them the best with our guide.

There is a barrel-finished bourbon in this week's lineup of new whiskies—Lux Row's Blood Oath Pact No. 8, which was finished in calvados barrels. Other new releases this week include an ocean-aged rye from Jefferson's, a blended grain whisky from Compass Box, and a blend of Tennessee and Kentucky bourbons from Sweetens Cove. Read on for full details.

Jefferson's Ocean Aged Rye

Style: Rye

Origin: Not stated

Age: Not stated

ABV: 48%

Price: $80

Release: April 2022

Availability: Widely available

Need to know:

This latest Jefferson's Bourbon release in its Ocean: Aged at Sea series is actually a rye—the first rye expression ever in the Ocean series. It spent an undisclosed period of time on ships that traveled to ports throughout the world. Some 75% of the liquid was aged in char-3 barrels, while 25% was matured in toasted barrels that were then placed on ships for finishing at sea. This release marks the 26th voyage in the series.

Whisky Advocate says:

In 2012, Jefferson's Bourbon founder Trey Zoeller collaborated with OCEARCH, a nonprofit group that studies and tracks the marine species of the world's oceans. The partnership was born to test the impact of the ship's constant rocking and the resulting greater contact between the bourbon and the wood.

Blood Oath Pact No. 8 Calvados Finished

Style: Finished bourbon

Origin: Kentucky

Age: Not stated

ABV: 49.3%

Price: $120

Release: April 2022

Availability: 49,600 bottles, with 1,400 bottles reserved for a future Trilogy Pack release

Need to know:

Blood Oath Pact 8, blended by Lux Row master distiller and master blender John Rempe, includes 14 year old and 11 year old ryed bourbons, as well as 8 year old ryed bourbon finished in casks formerly used for calvados, a brandy made from apples (and sometimes pears) in the Normandy region of northwestern France.

Whisky Advocate says:

John Rempe crafts each release in the Blood Oath series to be distinctly different. His past efforts have produced a sauternes-finished bourbon for Pact 7 (89 points) as well as a cognac-finished bourbon (91 points) for Pact 6. The Lux Row Distillery opened in 2018 in Bardstown, Kentucky, filling its first barrel in January of that year, so the Blood Oath liquid is sourced for the time being. Lux Row is now owned by MGP Ingredients, following a deal struck last year.

Tamdhu 18 year old

Style: Single malt

Origin: Scotland (Speyside)

Age: 18 year old

ABV: 46.8%

Price: $180

Release: April 2022

Availability: Limited

Need to know:

Tamdhu scotch whisky, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is matured exclusively in sherry barrels. This 18 year old is a marriage of single malts aged in American oak oloroso and European oak oloroso barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

Calling all sherried whisky lovers! If Tamdhu isn't on your radar, you may want to seek it out. Named as one of single malt scotch's hidden gems in our Spring 2021 issue, Tamdhu 18 year old joins a lineup of 12 and 15 year old single malts, along with its Batch Strength range and special releases. Tamdhu Batch Strength 002 finished at No. 8 in our 2017 Top 20.

Compass Box Experimental Grain

Style: Blended grain

Origin: Scotland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 46%

Price: $150

Release: April 2022

Availability: 6,142 bottles worldwide

Need to know:

This new limited edition from Compass Box aims to accentuate the beauty and diversity of grain whisky. The blend includes several components, among them a grain whisky parcel sourced from Loch Lomond and made from a mashbill of 100% peated malted barley. While that may seem like a contradiction in terms, it was produced from a column still rather than a pot still and thus is classified as a grain whisky. The Loch Lomond parcel comprises one third of the recipe, with the remainder of the blend coming from more conventionally made grain whiskies aged in re-charred barrels and hogsheads. Lead whisky maker James Saxon says Compass Box has aimed to create the alter ego to Hedonism, the rich blended malt that has had several iterations over the years.

Whisky Advocate says:

Following last week's release of Vellichor, this marks two new whiskies from Compass Box in as many weeks. With Experimental Grain, Compass Box is hoping to challenge conventional wisdom surrounding grain whisky, which is one of the more underappreciated styles in the whisky world. Scottish blenders often sing the praises of grain whiskies, and releases like this one might finally thrust them into the limelight.

Sweetens Cove Kennessee

Style: Finished bourbon

Origin: Kentucky and Tennessee

Age: Not stated

ABV: 55.35%

Price: $59

Release: April 2022

Availability: 42,000 bottles in AR, CO, GA, IL, IN KY, LA, NV, OK, SC, TN, TX

Need to know:

The latest release from Sweetens Cove combines whiskeys made in Kentucky and Tennessee, blended together by master blender Marianne Eaves and finished with toasted sugar maple wood.

Whisky Advocate says:

Previous Sweetens Cove releases contained only Tennessee whiskey. This brand launched in 2020, and is named after a Tennessee golf coursewhere it's customary for visitors to kick off a 9-hole round with a shot of whiskey. Not only is this the first Sweetens Cove release to contain non-Tennessee whiskey, but it's also by far the most affordable of its three releases thus far. Its 13 year old Tennessee straight (92 points) and Tennessee Blended straight (90 points) both were priced at $200.

Writers' Tears Cask Strength (2022 Release)

Style: Blended

Origin: Ireland

Age: Not stated

ABV: 54.6%

Price: $150

Release: April 2022

Availability: 7,920 bottles worldwide, 2,100 for the U.S.

Need to know:

The 12th edition of Writers' Tears Cask Strength marries single pot still and single malt whiskeys that were both triple distilled and aged in bourbon barrels.

Whisky Advocate says:

This release comes just a few weeks after The Irishman, another Walsh Whiskey label, announced its own annual cask strength edition. Previous expressions of Writers' Tears Cask Strength have scored well, with the 2021 edition netting 93 pointsmaking it among the highest scoring whiskies from our Fall 2021 issue. Each bottle is numbered and signed by Walsh Whiskey co-founder and Writers' Tears creator Bernard Walsh. The number of bottles coming to the U.S. has seen a slight increase this year, up from a smaller 1,500 bottles previously.

Old Elk Master's Blend Series Four Grain

Style: Straight bourbon

Origin: Indiana

Age: Not stated

ABV: 52.95%

Price: $100

Release: April 2022

Availability: Limited; nationwide

Need to know:

This whiskey has a mashbill of 51% corn, 22.5% wheat, 19% barley, and 7.5% rye and was aged for 6 to 7 years.

Old Elk Master's Blend Series Double Wheat

Style: Straight whiskey

Origin: Indiana

Age: Not stated

ABV: 53.55%

Price: $100

Release: April 2022

Availability: Limited; Nationwide

Need to know:

This blend combines Old Elk's Straight wheat whiskey and its wheated straight bourbon. It was aged for 6 to 8 years, with a mashbill that is 71.5% wheat, 25% corn, and 3.5% barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Fort Collins, Colorado-based Old Elk adds these two expressions to its Master's Blend line. The whiskeys were created by Old Elk master distiller Greg Metze, who previously worked for 38 years at Seagram Distillery/MGP Ingredients in Lawrenceburg, Indiana overseeing production. Old Elk was founded in 2013 and is making its own whiskey in Colorado, but is waiting for it to mature.

Laws Whiskey House Four Grain Bourbon Batch #6

Style: Bottled in bond bourbon

Origin: Colorado

Age: 8 year old

ABV: 50%

Price: $80

Release: April 2020

Availability: In selected markets around the country

Laws Whiskey House San Luis Valley Rye Batch #3

Style: Bottle in bond rye

Origin: Colorado

Age: 7 year old

ABV: 50%

Price: $80

Release: April 2022

Availability: In selected markets around the country

Need to know:

The four grain bourbon release blends two separate batches—#6S and #6F, both at around 8 years of age. Batch #6S was distilled in the spring season of 2013 and comprised 18 barrels with average maturation time of 8 years and 5 months, while batch #6F was distilled in the fall of 2013 and totaled 9 barrels with an average age of 8 years and two months. The mashbill is 60% corn, 20% heirloom wheat, 10% heirloom rye, and 10% heirloom malted barley. The San Luis Valley Rye, meanwhile is a marriage of 23 barrels distilled in the fall season of 2014, with total barrel maturation of 7 years and 1 month. The mashbill is 95% heirloom rye and 5% heirloom barley.

Whisky Advocate says:

Denver, Colorado-based Laws Whiskey House was founded in 2011 and focuses on bottled in bond releases and four grain bourbons, as well as 100% rye whiskeys. The distillery released its first Bonded Four Grain bourbon in 2016, and these new releases are among its oldest yet. Laws is very much terroir-driven in its approach, sourcing local and heritage grains from the southern part of the state. San Luis Rye is made from rye grown at 8,000 feet above sea level in Colorado's San Luis Valley. The company also does many limited release small batch whiskeys and seasonal offerings.