Saturday, February 13, 2021

Oak & Eden Spire Bourbon and Rye Reviews & Tasting Notes


Distilling whiskey is an expensive undertaking. First of all, you need a facility to do the whole process. You need a warehouse of some sort to age.  You invest in barrels. And, you're earning exactly $0.00 while your product is aging in those warehouses until they hit the market. Waiting can take years. Decades, even, if you're talking about Scotch. That's a long time to have money tied up.

There are other options, of course. You can buy someone else's distillate and then slap your label on it and sell it.  You can distill unaged spirits to keep a cash flow going. Or, you can try rapid-aging what you have to get it on the store shelf as quickly as possible.

There are a variety of ways to rapid-age whiskey. You can use smaller barrels. The smaller the barrel, the faster the whiskey ages. You can create artificial seasons - in the summer you can air-condition your warehouse and simulate winter. And, in the winter, you can heat the warehouse and simulate summer. You then quickly vent out the artificial season and let Mother Nature take over. 

Or, you can do what Oak & Eden does:

"Oak & Eden In-Bottle Finished Whiskey is a first of its kind, pioneering a patented technique called in-bottle finishing™, where we place a 5” long spiral cut piece of wood into every bottle of our fully aged whiskey. This technique “inspires” our whiskey, breathing new life, flavors, and aromas that couldn’t be achieved in a single barrel alone." - Oak & Eden

The "fully aged" whiskey is sourced, meaning, they didn't do any distilling. There's nothing in the world wrong with that, and I appreciate Oak & Eden's transparency in that regard.

Today's reviews are on Oak & Eden's Bourbon and Rye. Both are sourced from MGP of Indiana.  Both were aged for two years.  Both were bottled at 90°.  The wood spires were medium-toasted and remain in the bottle for six months prior to shipping them to stores.  Obviously, the longer a bottle remains on the shelf, the longer it "ages." The Bourbon retails for $39.99 and Rye for $49.99.

How does this technology pan out? The only way to know for sure is to #DrinkCurious. For the record, I obtained these samples from a third-party that is not connected with MGP or Oak & Eden.

The first one up is the Bourbon.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon presented as a very dark brown. It created a very thick rim that generated slower legs.

Nose:  Not unexpectedly, oak was dominating. I also smelled sawdust, corn, and pumpkin spice.  When I inhaled the vapor in my mouth, there was a mineral quality, similar to what you'd expect out of George Dickel

Palate:  The mouthfeel was creamy and had a medium body. On the front, I tasted bitter oak and what I could only describe as artificial wood. The middle offered a mix of baking spice and brown sugar. Then, on the back, the flavors of clove and oak came through.

Finish:  Massive wood tannins ended this tasting. The finish was very brief.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Oak & Eden's Spire Bourbon was absolutely awful. There's no getting around that.  When something has an artificial flavor, that's an immediate turn-off. I don't care if it is whiskey, cola, or anything else.  If I had to say something positive about it, the finish was thankfully short. Obviously, this is a Bust.

Next up is the Rye.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, the Rye was the color of mahogany. It produced a thin rim, but the legs were much thicker and slowly crawled back to the pool.

Nose:  There was a blast of spearmint and menthol that, once I got past them, turned to rubber. When I breathed the vapor in my mouth, there was vanilla. 

Palate:  The palate was thick and creamy. Then I tasted tires. Not just rubber, but everything I've imagined a tire tastes like. There was also an artificial wood quality just like what the Bourbon had. The middle was cinnamon and nutmeg, while the back consisted of pepper and burnt caramel.

Finish:  I found a combination of wet oak, nutmeg, and rye spice in the salty finish that was medium-short in length.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Ufdah. I thought things wouldn't get much worse than the Bourbon, and boy was I wrong. The finish was too long. I can't see anyone spending $50.00 for a bottle of this under any circumstances. Another Bust.

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

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