Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea Review

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Jeffersons Ocean Aged A Sea Review

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

ABV: 45%
Batch: 21
Bottle: 0826
Price: $65

Distiller: ? / Jefferson’s source and blend their whiskey like High West. Though unlike High west they don’t disclose from where.

Amber caramel

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.

SCORE: 91/100


Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.

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25 Responses to Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged at Sea Review

  1. jason80 says:

    if its real bourbon its made in kentucky if not its just a big fat fake…lol

  2. jason80 says:

    well go ahead and give me there names cause like jack daniels ky proud will make them take the bourbon name off their label to be bourbon it has to be made by ky corn and ky spring water so there for it is not bourbon just plain old wiskey

    • JoshSPeters says:

      Not true. It has to be manufactured and aged in Kentucky to be called Kentucky Bourbon. Bourbon is a broader term and can be produced anywhere in the USA so long as it meets the minimum legal requirements to be classified as such.

    • christie says:

      kinda like “Champagne”, and it can be wonderful or suck, but, to be that product it must be done in France, from local grapes and carbonation must be in the bottle.

  3. jason80 says:

    By law, bourbon must be:
    Produced in the USA
    Made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
    Distilled at less than 160 proof (80% ABV)
    No additives allowed (except water to reduce proof where necessary)
    Aged in new, charred white oak barrels
    Aged for a minimum of two years*

  4. Chris says:

    Jefferson’s is sourced from MGP in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, down the street from my place in NKY.

    • Josh Peters says:

      Hey Chris,

      I’ve read that most of their new stuff is likely MGP, but some of their older stuff was likely sourced elsewhere. Though I’m relatively sure this falls into the former not the later.


  5. Tony says:

    Is this Ocean #2 or Ocean #1? Ocean #3 just is being released here in New England, and I picked some up, interested to hear how you review the different releases…

  6. […] When we think of bourbon, we think of cornfields and rural America. But Jefferson’s Bourbon founder Trey Zoeller, a proud child of Kentucky, would just as well have you think of the open waters. That’s because his Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon ($70) is indeed aged at sea. It makes the bottle a great conversation piece, but there’s a logic of sorts behind the process: To quote the brand’s press materials: “The constant rocking of the ocean, fluctuation in temperature and saline-rich air help mature the whiskey faster and add depth to the bourbon.” All we know is that it’s good stuff, and that even the most skeptical of bourbon buffs agree: “This is some seriously tasty bourbon…with some unique briny characteristics,” says The Whiskey Jug blog. […]

  7. Patrick says:

    taste is Great better than and Van Winkle I tasted
    and its hard to get has ore vanilla flavor
    was a hit at my Family Christmas Dinner

  8. Joe says:

    Awsome Bourbon
    Was at mt Brothers House Christmas Eve
    had this Bourbon was Totally Impressed
    Jeffereson Ocean Aged was Great
    Ive had Jefferson 82.3 & 90.2(liitle over Priced but Good too)
    had this Ocean Aged and was in Love with all the
    Pappy stuff going around I like this alot
    Retailers said his allocated I can see why
    It has a lot of vanilla Flavor
    take it from me get this better than any pappy you tasted trust me

  9. Robert Joswick says:

    Really disappointed in this $80 bourbon which was talked up by manager of Banks liquors in Millville DE. The reviews on these types of bourbons are great. Did I get a bad bottle? As I sipped the bourbon burned all the way down and lasted at least a minute. I don’t think any good bourbon should burn. The bourbon was Jeffersons ocean aged at sea and was a real letdown.

    • Josh Peters says:

      Interesting, mine doesn’t really have much burn to it. It is 90 proof so it should have a little kick to it, but not quite like what you’re describing. Did you try adding a splash of water to your glass? It’ll help tame the alcohol while also releasing some additional flavors and aromas. Hope that helps.

  10. James M says:

    I just got a bottle of the first JO today! Lucked out can’t say where I found it but they had plenty at $90 a bottle! I’m going back w my fingers crossed on Monday! The comment that it burns??? Well any alcohol will burn some? Thank God, if not for the little burn and the little hangover from time to time well I’d slug it like iced tea??? To give a bourbon a bad review on having a burn is like hearing someone say ” my diet soda had an aftertaste? Well Duh! Grab a sprite only , but now it burns when cold! Lol! Help me please! Also a KY guy is gonna get his bourbon from Ky! Believe me there’s BIG pride with bourbon in our state!!! That’s an insult to the man!!!

    • Josh Peters says:

      That’s great you managed to find a batch 1, congrats. Though you completely lost me when you said I gave it a bad review because it burns. I gave it a 91… that’s a great score. That’s an A-, I really enjoy this bourbon, but it’s completely fair to say that it runs way hotter than other 90 proofers. That’s not a slight, just an observation.

  11. Marcus G says:

    Got a bottle of voyage #4 from the wife; changed my whole view on Valentine’s day. Very impressed with what I assumed was just a marketing gimmick. Agree with your review of #2, I can honestly taste the effect the sea air had on these barrels. Salted caramel corn. Like the burn too.

    • Abe says:

      I had nearly the same experience as Marcus, but with Voyage #3. I thought it was a gimmick, but was talked into it by a couple of people I trust. I opened it for some family that was visiting and everyone who tried it thought it was great. Poured some more a week later and it was even better. Nice wood, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, other spices and even some salt. A unique flavor profile for a bourbon, and very smooth. As a result, I will be getting some Voyage #4 when it is finally available in the rocky mountain region.

  12. Hi. I like your latest blog post. I’m a big fan of whiskey in general. So much so we’ve started sourcing and aging coffee beans in whiskey barrels. Any chance you would be up for reviewing our coffee for your blog readers? I can send out some free samples to you. Awesome site by the way.

    Let me know. Thanks.

  13. Teri says:

    If you can sell this for $65 you must be getting it a lot cheaper than me. I own a liquor store and my cost is $63.45 a bottle.

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