Jefferson At Sea: A Bold Experiment in Whiskey Aging

Whiskey Review: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon

Jefferson’s is a brand renowned for its innovative approach to bourbon production. While some may question the brand’s practice of sourcing its spirits from other distilleries, their Ocean series stands out as a truly daring endeavor. But was it a risk that paid off?

Founded in 1997 by Trey Zoeller and his father Chet, the inspiration behind Jefferson’s can be traced back to their family’s deep roots in bourbon history. Although their claim to fame rests on a tenuous link to the illegal distilling industry through their 8th generation grandmother’s arrest in 1799, it was their discovery of a stockpile of exceptional bourbon that propelled them to create a brand that could share this liquid gold with the world.

Rather than using their family name, they chose to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson, a founding father and the third president of the United States, despite the fact that he had no direct association with Kentucky. This decision set the stage for a brand that would continue to push boundaries and explore new avenues of aging and maturation.

In the early 2000s, Jefferson’s was acquired by Castle Brands, Inc., and later by the French alcoholic beverage giant Pernod Ricard in 2019. This transition allowed the brand to expand its reach while preserving its commitment to quality.

A Journey of Age and Experience

Unlike their Reserve version, which remains silent about its origins, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon boldly declares itself as a blend of Kentucky straight bourbons sourced from undisclosed distilleries. What sets this expression apart is its unique aging process on a working ship as it navigates the world’s oceans. This particular bottle hails from Voyage 23, documented in detail on Jefferson’s website. The constant movement and agitation of the barrels during the voyage is believed to accelerate the aging process and infuse the whiskey with the distinct flavors of the barrels.

Once the barrels complete their journey, the contents are carefully bottled and offered to discerning whiskey enthusiasts.

Whiskey Review: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon

Aesthetic Appeal Meets Functional Design

In terms of branding, Jefferson’s spared no effort. Their decision not to operate a distillery allowed them to invest wholeheartedly in their artistic vision, and it has paid off. The flask-like design of the bottle, with its square body and rounded edges, exudes a charm that catches the eye. The short, elegant neck is crowned with a wood and cork stopper, lending an air of sophistication.

The bottle’s flat-faced design grants ample surface area for the whiskey to shine through. Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon proudly showcases its unique aging process with an image of a boat adorning the front label, visually connecting the whiskey to its maritime journey. Turn the bottle around, and a map visible through the front adds a touch of intrigue. It’s a clever and visually pleasing touch that enhances the overall appeal.

Whiskey Review: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon

Unveiling the Flavors

When it comes to aroma, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon offers a familiar profile with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon spice. However, what stands out is the absence of the raw charred oak note that often characterizes bourbons. Instead, this expression leans pleasantly towards the comforting scent of fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies.

Sipping this bourbon reveals a smooth and enjoyable flavor experience. The initial sweetness of caramel dances gracefully with swirls of vanilla, followed by a delightful dash of cinnamon spice. The journey comes to a close with a subtle hint of black pepper. Surprisingly, the expected raw charred oak flavors remain on the lighter side.

However, when ice is introduced, the lighter and sweeter components tend to dissipate. This can leave the bourbon feeling lackluster, with only hints of raw corn and brown sugar. While a touch of bitterness from the charred oak temporarily adds complexity, it fails to bring back the excitement. Thus, when it comes to enjoying this spirit on the rocks, the experience falls short.

Whiskey Review: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon

A Voyage That Leaves a Little to be Desired

Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon deserves applause for its audacious experiment. Aging bourbon on ships seems like a concept bound to succeed. While there are certainly unique and interesting flavors to unearth, unfortunately, they are not robust enough to withstand the addition of ice. Consequently, this bourbon falls somewhat short compared to other offerings in the same category and price range.

At Ambassadeur Hotel, we appreciate the spirit of innovation that Jefferson’s brings to the table. It aligns with our own commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. To learn more about our luxurious accommodations and unrivaled hospitality, visit Ambassadeur Hotel.

Overall Rating: 2/5

What, exactly, do you do with a drunken sailor, anyway?