Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 25 Year Old Bourbon Completes Age Exploration Series - The Whiskey Wash

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 25 Year Old Bourbon Completes Age Exploration Series

By Nino Marchetti / November 27, 2018

Diageo’s Orphan Barrel series, over the time we’ve been covering it, has showcased many an older bourbon drawn from quiet corners of old Kentucky barrel aging warehouses. One we’ve watched progressively evolve is the Rhetoric bottlings, which started back with a 20 year old in mid-2014 and is now completed with the unveiling of the final 25 year old whiskey.

Rhetoric 25 Year Old, according to those behind it, follows as the last bourbon in a progressively aging series Diageo brought forth to let drinkers see how an already old whiskey changes over the course of getting even older. Previous bottlings have included 20-, 21-, 22-, 23- and 24-year-old expressions, and now with this final release if you have all the younger ones you can taste through the entire aging experience.

Rhetoric 25 Year Old

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 25 Year Old (image via Diageo)

As for the 25 year old, it is drawn from old bourbon stock found among aging barrels in the old Stitzel-Weller warehouses in Louisville. It was previously distilled between 1990 and 1993 at the Bernheim distillery “historically located at 17th and Breckenridge in Louisville” during the time this facility was owned and operated by United Distillers.

The mash bill for Rhetoric 25 year old is 86% corn, 8% barley and 6% rye. Bottled at 91 proof, this bourbon is pricing around $140. You’ll find some official tasting notes for it below for your consideration. It should be noted as well that if you line up this bottle with the others, you’ll note that the background of the label, reminiscent of the oak barrels in which the whiskey aged, has grown deeper in color as Rhetoric has been released each year.

Aroma rich in oak and vanilla notes with hints of dried fruit, cherries and allspice. Palette is oak -forward with notes of nutmeg, caramel, and cocoa, and gives way to a warming and slightly spicy finish.