- DISTILLER: Diageo
- 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
NOSE: Oak | 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 PRICE: Retail 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.
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.
Aroma rich in oak and vanilla notes with hints of dried fruit, cherries and allspice.
Palette is oak-forward with notes of nutmeg, caramel, and cocoa, and gives way to a warming and slightly spicy finish.
Rhetoric 25-Year-Old is the latest release from the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company – a beautiful Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey aged for 25 years. Aged five years longer than the first release, Rhetoric 20-Year-Old, it is slightly more mature and carries a higher proof.
The Rhetoric series has been progressively aged and re-released annually at a year older, allowing whiskey aficionados to collect the series and compare the whiskeys
Rhetoric stocks were found in the old Stitzel-Weller Warehouses in Louisville, Ky. The whiskey was distilled (between 1990-1993) at the Bernheim Distillery historically located at 17th and Breckenridge in Louisville, Ky., while owned and operated by United Distillers. The whiskey is hand-bottled in Tullahoma, Tenn.