Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Luxco. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Things have changed for Luxco since the last time I wrote about their Blood Oath limited-release line of whiskeys. They’ve been acquired by MGP Ingredients. MGP – Midwestern Grain Products – is that well-known and oft suspected custom distiller who probably had a hand in making everything from Redemption Bourbon to Angel’s Envy.
Luxco offers MGP an established house of brands, including Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks whiskeys, as well as El Mayor tequila. Their bottlings have the shine of higher-shelf products, said David Colo, president and CEO of MGP Ingredients. Luxco has built an impressive national distribution as well.
MGP’s massive production footprint and access to market seem key for Luxco’s continued growth. It’s all a little confusing, since it was rumored MGP was already producing their whiskey brands, then Luxco opened Lux Row Distillery in 2018, and now that facility will be owned by MGP. It’s all circular in bourbon.
Just the same, the Blood Oath line claims no provenance. That’s the whole point. According to creator John Rempe, he alone knows the maker of each piece of the puzzle, and this way, he can provide for the epicure with no restrictions.
For Blood Oath Pact No. 7, Rempe combined a 14-year-old ryed bourbon with two eight-year ryed bourbons, one of which was finished in Sauternes casks. Sauternes is Bordeaux’s sweet, late-harvest white wine, mostly made up of sémillon with some sauvignon blanc and muscadelle.
What sets Sauternes apart is the grapes have been infected with Botrytis cinerea – AKA noble rot. Why does that matter? Botrytis draws water out of the grapes, making their juice yield low but that juice very concentrated.
Combine the timing of late harvest, when grapes have developed all the sugar they can, with dehydration and you get a syrupy starting point. Noble rot also fosters flavors like honey, ginger and beeswax, likely due to increased levels of an aroma compound, phenylacetaldehyde. Will we find any of that in the bourbon? Let’s see!
Tasting Notes: Blood Oath Pact No. 7
Vital stats: Blood Oath Pact No. 7 clocks in at 98.6 proof and is made from undisclosed mash bills, with bourbons that are eight years or older. With a limited allocation of 17,000 cases, try to find a 750mL for $99.99.
Appearance: This liquid is a very clear, medium copper that beads and forms slow, fat tears.
Nose: Sweet and spicy, stone fruit and gingersnaps with vanilla perfume woven through.
Palate: Full on the palate, in both flavor and texture. Oaky vanilla comes through strongly backed up with black pepper, cinnamon and considerable heat. Sweet white flowers and apricot surface with the addition of a little water. Spiciness lingers on the long finish.