I wanted to be writing this and calling bullshit on the process. I wanted to say that the whole thing was a marketing gimmick and that Jefferson’s Ocean tasted like a normal 6-8 yr bourbon, that there were no hints of salt or brine and that it’s trip around the world on an oceanic research vessel was all for naught. I wanted to be able to say all of this… but I can’t.
To make this batch of Jefferson’s Ocean Trey Zoeller, Jefferson’s Master Blender, sourced 62 barrels of bourbon aged 6-8 years and then put them on a container ship for 6 months where the barrels rocked and sloshed across the oceans stopping at a total of 31 ports and making their way across the equator four times. The theory is that this constant movement of the liquid in the barrels ages (matures) the whiskey faster because more of the liquid is in contact with the wood more often.
Overall this is some seriously tasty bourbon. Rich and deep in character starting at the nose and surging through the finish there are strongly defined bourbon notes blending with some unique briny characteristics that give this sourced bourbon an identity all its own. I’m not fully convinced it’s worth the full price tag, but with a % of each bottle going towards Ocearch research I’m feeling better about it with each sip.
Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea Review
Distiller: ? / Jefferson’s source and blend their whiskey like High West. Though unlike High west they don’t disclose from where.
There isn’t any brine or salt in the nose just a big dose of well matured bourbon. This starts out with a healthy dose of bourbon spice followed by rich caramel and vanilla. Brown sugar, dark fruit (cherries in particular), orange zest, dark honey and oak. The aromas are sharp, rich and sweet; creating a wonderful nosing experience that reminds me of high quality wheaters.
Bourbon spice and dark fruit are neck and neck coming onto the palate with caramel behind by an inch. Cinnamon pops and cherries float in and out and the oak sits like a support beam under the whole flavor profile. There is some vanilla, but it comes across as imitation vanilla and then there’s the salt. I was shocked to actually find some salty brine coating my tongue as it passed. It’s not a strong presence, but it’s definitely there.
A bit hot (rough / burning), but completely manageable.
Medium-long and filled with caramel, wood, salt and vanilla mixed with an ambiguous sweetness and tartness in what is easily the most unique finish I’ve had in a bourbon.