Jefferson’s Ocean, Batch 19

Jefferson's Ocean, Batch 19
Sku, the source of my sample, reviewed this bourbon on Monday. He’s forgotten more about bourbon than I know but I’m going to follow his review anyway. If nothing else, I will give you more than the four nouns and two adjectives that Sku shared with us (he’s not paid by the word there).

As to whether the makers of Jefferson’s Ocean, one of the most preposterous brands in the recent history of American whiskey (that’s saying something), deserve more than four nouns and two adjectives I don’t know. They probably don’t. They started out with a ridiculous concept and have somehow managed to squeeze another 20 releases out of it. Is each batch aged on a boat on a different ocean? Is one of them the Salton Sea? Or did they play Billy Ocean’s greatest hits to the maturing barrels? We will never know. Or care.  

Jefferson’s Ocean, Batch 19 (45%; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: Mild corn sweetness and some clove to begin. Rye notes build from there (dill, mint). Gets sweeter as it goes with light caramel and butterscotch; some vanilla too. Nothing interesting develops with water and it all thins out.

Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose but with less of the rye notes from the nose: instead it’s the clove and a touch of pepper. The mouthfeel is just a little too thin. With time the clove is joined by some woody cinnamon and the corn sweetness expands. Nothing of interest here with water either.

Finish: Medium. It’s here that the oak emerges, but it’s not particularly emphasized here either. Longer with water and sweeter and spicier.

Comments: A solid, bright, balanced bourbon with no flaws but also nothing to particularly recommend it over far cheaper alternatives. Of course, as with all mystery bourbons, the qualities of one batch tell you nothing about the others. I’d hold the water on this one (though it did make the finish more interesting).

Rating: 84 points.

Thanks to Sku for the sample!

One thought on “Jefferson’s Ocean, Batch 19

  1. I have had little interest in the subsequent batches of the Jefferson’s Ocean gimmick but I continue to be surprised by how often people with some presumed experience and knowledge in the whiskey industry continue to slam the original Jefferson’s Ocean. I found it to be both an interesting and perfectly valid experiment (final cost of those few original bottles aside). Sadly the people at Jefferson either failed to see the potential I did or did not care. Had it been my experiment I would have put a few barrels of the same whiskey that was originally placed on the small boat for several years and have them matched to barrels that spent the same amount of time in a typical rick house for aging. Selling the two in a package of two 375 ml bottles (a bit like the much lambasted Woodford Masters Collection ryes a few years ago) would have been interesting, at least to me. As someone who had one of those original “first batch” Jefferson’s Ocean bottles I am pretty convinced which would have proven to be the better whiskey. I certainly found it better than other four year old bourbon’s I compared it to in blind side by side tastings. But at this point I am pretty much resigned to being in the minority in my appreciation for the original Ocean and the subsequent inconsequential batch releases certainly have done little to help that.

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