Orphan Barrels—Round Three

Diageo's third release in its Orphan Barrel series is the Rhetoric, which comes in another fantastic-looking bottle. It almost looks like the old art-deco covers of the Ayn Rand novels put out during the 1960s—the Rhetoric is like The Fountainhead of whiskey labels.

How does it stack up? It's the best of the three so far, in my opinion.

Rhetoric 20 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 750ml (ships as 1.5L) $99.99 - Another 20 year old release from Diageo's Orphan Barrel series that showcases ultra-mature Bourbon from Bernheim Distillery. Whereas the Barterhouse 20 year began with a soft and rounded profile, showcasing the extra oak from two decades of aging, the Rhetoric is far more balanced with less initial sweetness and more peppery spice. The tobacco and herbaceous notes carry through to the finish, which is decidedly longer and more intense than what the Barterhouse offers. Considering both stocks originate from the same distillery, it's interesting to taste how Diageo has chosen to blend together the remaining barrels. Fans of the richer, more supple style of Bourbon might lean towards the Barterhouse, but those in search of what's ultimately underneath the sweetness will prefer the Rhetoric without question. The baking spices on the nose are more alluring, and the complexity of flavor far more interesting.(NOTE: Due to the width of the Rhetoric bottle all shipping orders will be charged as 1.5L bottles)

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll