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!