Whiskey Review: Orphan Barrel Forged Oak Bourbon

Orphan Barrel Forged Oak

Orphan Barrel Forged Oak (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)

Ok, I have been sampling whiskey for some time now, and I have gotten to know exactly what I like and dislike, but I still enjoy pushing my experiences in new directions; the road less traveled theory. Every now again there is a whiskey that comes up that is on my “must try” list.

I received the sample bottle from my editor for this review a few more weeks ago than I care to admit, as I would then be past my due date for this article.  I have saved it for the last in this batch, my reward to keep me pushing towards that finish line, however arbitrary it is, as there is always more to sample.

As you may remember, I loved the Rhetoric by Orphan Barrel. As for Orphan Barrel Forged Oak, which is the focus of this review, this straight Kentucky bourbon spent 15 years in barrels in the Stizler-Weller rickhouses.  And I am sure that many of you know that Pappy Van Winkle built that house.  Now I hope you can understand my plan to use this as a reward.

The official tasting notes read:

Forged Oak is a statuesque whiskey with aromas of cedar, maple and vanilla bean that give way to seasoned woody notes of cocoa and young berries, ultimately leading to a long, dry finish of black pepper.

My tasting notes:

Color – Medium amber in both glass and bottle

Nose – oak and vanilla, a touch of sweetness

Palate – leather, oak, caramel, a velvet feel to the mouth (especially after the first sip), pepper, slight smoke

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Finish – long oak, slight smoke, pepper heat, and dry

Rating – 87/100

This is a nicely balanced dry bourbon, with plenty of oak and at $65 per bottle (750ml), this is not a bad deal for a 15 year old 90.5 proof bourbon.