Blood Oath #8 is upon us, and as always the “pact” continues to evolve. This year’s version starts with a 14-year ryed bourbon and an 11-year ryed bourbon, then they blend in the twist: an 8-year ryed bourbon finished in Calvados casks.
I like this whiskey quite a bit. While apple brandy can have a massive — and sometimes jarring — impact on whiskey, here it complements things quite nicely, and beautifully. The nose is rich and enveloping, never really evoking apple flavors but rather punching hard on classic notes of the rickhouse — woody, well-charred, with faint notes of fruit, almost like blackberry, off in the distance. The palate is rich with a surprising and immediate note of dark chocolate, which initially feels almost exclusionary to the other flavors buried in the dram. Soon that blackberry fruit character becomes clearer, punctuated with notes of caramel, butterscotch, and some baking spice. The apple you’ve been waiting for comes into focus at the very end, the finish evoking more apple crumble than fresh apple (or even apple pie), rich caramel laced throughout.
I had reserved expectations for this apple brandy-finished bourbon but was happy to find it engaging from start to finish, eventually kicking into a higher gear as it develops beautifully in glass. One of the best Blood Oath bottlings to date.
98.6 proof. 51,000 bottles produced.