With 25 different “voyages” across the globe, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea has varied from release to release due likely as much to the different mashbills, proofs, and sources of the whiskey in each release as to the extreme fluctuations in temperature and motion experienced while plying the seven seas. The one thing they all have really had in common was that each was a bourbon. Until now.
For its 26th “voyage,” Jefferson’s has thrown a rye into the mix and an interesting one at that. It’s a Canadian-sourced rye of unspecified mashbill aged in #3 char barrels and then double barreled in a mix of #3 char and toasted barrels. Suffice to say this was a unique whiskey with a unique maturation even before boarding a container ship in Savannah for its long pleasure cruise. Let’s see how it fares.
The aroma shows off the double barreling with toasty, seasoned oak notes that nicely complement a healthy rye spice and grain-forward character. A subtle layer of modest sweetness lurks underneath with dark caramels and a bit of gingerbread. On the palate, a lively clove-studded spice kicks things off before transitioning to more wood-driven notes of barrel char and overbaked chocolate chip cookies that just as quickly become silky toffee and creamy cinnamon buns. Those various flavors coalesce with impressive balance heading into a sweet, oak-kissed finish of tobacco and Big Red chewing gum. Cruises still freak me out, but I’d sail with these barrels any day.