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Orphan Barrel unveils third whiskey – Rhetoric

Rhetoric Whiskey is the newest addition to the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company. It is a highly limited craft bourbon that will be progressively aged and released over the coming years – the 20-year-old variant will be released this year, the 21-year-old in 2015, and so on. This approach, Diageo says, will grant whiskey enthusiasts the chance to compare these exclusive offerings as they mature and collect an enviable series of Rhetoric whiskies. 

The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company was created in early 2014 to locate forgotten barrels of craft whiskey from around the world and share them with discerning adult fans. Rhetoric, the third variant to be released from the company, is aged 20 years for its first release and is expected to begin appearing on select shelves throughout the US this month under strict allocation due to limited supply. 

Rhetoric stocks were discovered in warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Ky., and distilled in both the New and Old Bernheim distilleries in Louisville. The whiskey is beautifully aged and hand bottled in Tullahoma, Tenn. Beginning with a smoky and leathery nose hinting of ripe apples, Rhetoric tastes of smoked vanilla, toasted rye and dried fruit before a long full finish of cherry blossom and bitter chocolate. Rhetoric carries a suggested retail price of US$85.

“Aging whiskey is a fascinating process and one that whiskey aficionados around the world love learning about,” said Ewan Morgan, Orphan Barrel master of whiskey.  “I’ve no doubt the progressive aging and release of Rhetoric will merit some spirited debate among us whiskey geeks about which year tastes best!”

Rhetoric’s packaging features an intricate gold label with a hummingbird rising above chaos and confusion to clarity and reason. The background, reminiscent of the oak barrels in which the whiskey aged, will grow deeper in colour as Rhetoric is progressively aged and released in the years to come. 

The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company is headquartered in Tullahoma, Tenn. where the whiskies are bottled.

23 June 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor