Rhetoric 25 Year Bourbon Review Header

Rhetoric 25 Year Bourbon Review

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by 1 Comment


The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company is an endeavor to rescue nearly forgotten barrels of delicious whiskey and share them with discerning adult consumers.

– Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company
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Rhetoric 25 Year Bourbon

  • DISTILLER: {{acf:distiller}}
  • MASH BILL: 86% Corn | 6% Rye | 8% Barley
  • AGE: 25 Years
  • YEAR: 2018
  • PROOF: 91 proof (45.5% ABV)
  • MSRP: $140
  • BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

NOSEOak | Baked Cinnamon | Allspice | Cocoa | Butterscotch

TASTE: Nutmeg | Cinnamon

FINISH: Medium Length | Spicy | Cinnamon | Cocoa | Nutmeg | A Hint of Sweetness | A little dry

SHARE WITH: Whiskey nerds and oak-forward bourbon fans.

WORTH THE PRICERetail was announced as $140, but I found this one for $159 on the shelf, and I’ve heard accounts of prices ranging from $159-200. Just on paper, if you compared it to the other bourbons older than 20 years, like offerings from Elijah Craig, Parker’s Heritage, Pappy Van Winkle, and others, this is a good value. If you have not had many occasions to try bourbons this old, then this might be a good option to familiarize yourself with the notes of older, oak-forward bourbons.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: As I often do with higher-priced bottles that I am unsure about, I buy a bottle and split it with some friends. For the price of a drink at the bar, I can get 4 or 5 ounces and help some friends get their hands on some samples, too. If that is not an option, I’d recommend trying it at the bar before committing to a bottle. I enjoy the oak in this one, but a lot of people prefer the woodiness to be subtler.

OVERALL: The nose on this one is fantastic. The oak is way out front, but the baking spices and sweeter notes add a nice depth that I find very enjoyable. I don’t find the palate of body to be anything special. The finish is nice but could be longer. From an educational perspective, I enjoy seeing how well distilleries can wrangle the intense oak of older bourbons like this one, so I am glad I got to try it. After reading about the 24-year, I expected this one to be loaded with tannins, but the dryness was far from over-bearing.

Learn more about Shawn's whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

Editor's Note: Back in May 2014, I had the opportunity to review the first release of Rhetoric. Now that we're at the end of its 5-year journey you may want to check out that original Rhetoric bourbon review and see how it stacks up to today's review of the 25 year release.

3/27/19 Update: We now have a review of all six Rhetoric bourbon releases for comparison purposes.

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About the Author

Shawn Jackson

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Shawn was born and raised in Houston but followed his wife to Nashville where they spent a wonderful and exciting decade. It was there that Shawn established his photography company, Sundel Perry, which was focused primarily on serving the music business. While living in Nashville, he fell in love with bourbon and co-founded a club in 2010 called The Bourbon Trust with some of his neighbors and friends. He orchestrated several barrel picks for the group from different distilleries before returning to Houston in 2015 and has been there since. In addition to drinking, talking about, and writing about bourbon, he loves capturing the visual beauty of bourbon in photos. His wife and his two young daughters are all very supportive of his bourbon obsession. For now.

  • joe boschert says:

    Shawn, I agree.
    5 years ago I was introduced to the Orphan Barrel Family.
    I’ve had the Forged Oak…..Barterhouse and now the Rhetoric.
    No disappointment here.
    Quality and enjoyment.