Blood Oath Pact No. 6
Blood Oath Bourbon comes to us from Lux Row Distillers, but perhaps not in the way it would appear at face value. The whole design of this brand is that the end product will be something crafted from the mind of John E. Rempe, Food Scientist and Blender for Blood Oath Bourbon. With over 20 years experience with the development of beverages and biology degree to back that up, Rempe’s creations are more than just finished bourbons: they are Pacts written in blood. Alright, alright, enough drama. Here we go!
(Photo: Blood Oath Bourbon)
Finished bourbons and whiskeys are truly showing up in full force these days. Blood Oath has been releasing blended whiskeys since Pact No. 1, but it seems they are keeping a watchful eye on the market and delivering to us with Pact No. 6 what many bourbon geeks would all-but expect to see as this year’s limited edition: Cognac finished bourbon.
Looking back at some recent reviews of finished whiskeys we see things like Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel and Maker’s Mark Limited Edition products that use variations of barrels or staves to create a different profile that relies upon the influence of oak on whiskey.
Check out this video review of Blood Oath Pact No. 6 by my friend Jason over at The Mash & Drum Whiskey Room on YouTube.
Brands like Barrell Craft Spirits expound upon finishes by sourcing super interesting casks from around the world to create products like their Barrell Dovetail. I see an evolution with Blood Oath Bourbon that flows along this same course–originally blended Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys in Pact No. 1 and now with the most recent iteration we’re seeing a blend of seven year old, eight year old, and fourteen year old bourbons that are then finished in Cognac casks. For some background information I looked at the Blood Oath Bourbon website:
A masterful union of well-bred bourbons-each on its own a ryed to be remembered. One, a 14-year– dark with oak, leather and tobacco. Two, and 8-year—toasty warm with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. And three, a 7-year—full of roasted caramel and honeyed raisin, then rested and mellowed in Cognac casks for a finish that’s all Kentucky heat with a wisp of crème brulee sweet. A votre santé.
Now I think it’s important to mention that there’s definitely a popularity among whiskey drinkers when it comes to finished products, but I am a little uneasy with the labeling of these products–or I should say that I am uneasy that, while being a protected category, Bourbon is not very well-defended against horizontal encroachment. Calling something “bourbon” has always meant there are no additives. No coloring, no flavoring, nothing. Easy, right? Ehh maybe not.
Finishing bourbon in a different spirit’s container and calling it bourbon rubs some people the wrong way, myself included, and I want to remain cognizant of the distinction between products labeled “Straight” and products that are “Finished”. A label that reads “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in X” is fine, but there are brands and products out there (looking at you, Brown Sugar Bourbon) who don’t even bother to toe the line. Until there’s an official ruling and the TTB enforces stronger label requirements I will do my best to make clear what I am reviewing.
Enough is enough…let’s have a drink!
Nose – Rich and oaky. A mild funk, but in the right way. There are layers of dark fruit mixing with oak and spice and an almost brown sugary background of dessert.
Taste – Warm and inviting. The older bourbon in this shows off with a heavy background of oak and a hint of leather. It’s not super heavy on the palate, but it does have weight and it coats fairly well. Spice works nicely, it’s almost a mixed spice flavor before moving along to darker fruit. Not jammy but holds a fig essence to it and then a slightly brighter caramel or toffee note kinda kicks in.
Finish – Fairly long and interesting. The cognac shines nicely here. Getting a bit of that brandy influence as the lighter flavors fade and the rich fruit and mustier side of the oak hold on and keep me thinking about how nicely the flavors work together.
Bourbon Finder Grade: B+
I’m a big fan of yak (geek slang for Cognac or Armagnac). A lot of times a finished product can be dreadfully overpowered by a finish; however, this isn’t happening with Blood Oath Pact No. 6. There’s balance, and the mature bourbons that create the backbone aren’t drowned out by the final piece of the aging puzzle–they are all working nicely in concert. I think the complexity and depth of flavor here is actually really enjoyable. I’ve gone ahead and bought a bottle for The Bourbon Finder HQ.
TheBourbonFinder thanks Blood Oath Bourbon for graciously providing a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!