Updated October 25, 2015
By Father John Rayls
Blood Oath? Really? It seemed like a lot of drama and hype, and yet I bought a bottle anyway, and that wasn’t cheap!
Bottled at 98.6 proof (body temperature, coincidentally), this bourbon is a blend of three different whiskeys. The first is a 7 year rye-spiced bourbon, while the second is a 6 year smooth wheat bourbon. The final one is an aged 12 years oaky bourbon. Only 15,000 bottles have been produced, a substantial run for a limited edition, but still limited.
This concoction was created by a food scientist John Rempe, who has worked at Luxco for more than 16 years. With this blend, John has successfully married corn, wheat, rye and barley into something really special, as much as I find myself admitting to it only grudgingly sometimes. There’s nothing new about outsourcing or even blending whiskey. High West is a master at it (and I love High West!).
I’m using a Glencairn glass of Blood Oath neat to write this review, and I really like what I see. It’s a beautiful brown with hints of orange color as the light shines through it. It reminds me of a trout stream in the Tennessee mountains bubbling over the deep brown submerged rocks. The water is clear, but the sunlight plays games with your eyes on the colors you’re actually seeing.
The legs are long and I can’t help but think of the ZZ Top anthem “Legs.” “She’s got legs, she knows how to use them,” and so does this bourbon. Frankly, they just won’t quit and I’m not sure I’ve ever observed this length before. The nose is of spice, vanilla, oak and rye with a hint of fresh fruit. There is an appealing aroma without a lot of burn from an above average, 49.3% abv.
As you sip this bourbon, it literally coats your mouth (and I mean that in the very best way possible). It excites the tongue, but the flavor comes primarily towards the back of the mouth. It’s a complex whiskey. There’s vanilla, oak, spicy rye and pepper which lingers with a long finish. However, there is a flash of flavor mid-mouth after you swallow. You can almost distinguish the three separate bourbons at different times as you swallow. It costs a little too much, but it is very enjoyable.
Addendum By Richard Thomas
The nose here is sharply floral with tarty citrus zest, running more into red grapefruit than orange, with plenty of vanilla and a dollop of spice and caramel. The sweetness on the tongue is surprisingly honeyed, seasoned with the solid bourbon flavors of caramel and vanilla, and livened with a touch of toasty wood and rye spice, and the whiskey has a nice creamy texture to it.
For the highish proof, the finish is surprisingly light. I didn’t find it nearly as hot as some bloggers have suggested. Instead, it leaves a moderate ball of warmth in the chest, with an aftertaste that starts peppery, but that fades rapidly to leave just a lingering hint of sweetness.
Blood Oath Pact No. 1 is a blend of a 6 year old wheated bourbon, a 7 year old high rye bourbon, and a 12 year old standard rye bourbon. I can feel that blend readily enough, since the outcome is very much like some of the four grain craft whiskeys I have tried, albeit one that has spent some more time in the cask than is usually the case for such things.
Hang on to your wallets for a minute, because this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey usually retails at $89.99 for a 750 ml bottle. However, I secured mine for $69.99 in San Antonio from my favorite retailer.
Now the real surprise came when I visited the official website and discovered I was entitled to a Blood Oath Glencairn glass for free. It was a little cumbersome registering for it, but I was told it would soon be shipped. If you’re like me and keep your whiskey habits within certain financial restraints, this may seem a little outlandish. However, I’d like to go on record as saying you may want to make an exception for this one. Nicely done Luxco…nicely done.