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Whisk(e)y Wednesday: Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon

Editor’s Note: Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a weekly feature in which we focus a spotlight on one of the myriad of whiskeys we’ve reviewed over the years. It should be noted that by clicking the buy link below our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

The story of Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon is the story of an interesting attempt to take a popular bourbon brand in new directions. It started when brand co-founder Trey Zoeller aged three barrels of Jefferson’s bourbon on M.V. Ocean for four years while the crew traveled the Pacific Ocean tagging sharks for research. It was found during this experiment that temperature fluctuations, salt water air exposure, and constant motion of the ship created a unique flavor profile for the bourbon.

Following this experiment and its initial release, the Ocean bottling has now taken off, with what’s now hundreds of barrels having been sent around the world and seeing over 25 ports, 5 continents and 2 equator crossings on average. To date there have been over 25 “Voyages,” as each release is called, with some of these offering variants on the modeling mentioned previously.

Jefferson's Ocean Bourbon
Jefferson’s Ocean Bourbon (image via Pernod Ricard)

From The Brand: Fully aged bourbon that is hyper-aged at Sea on ships that cross the Equator up to 4 times, visit 5 Continents, and anchor at over 25 ports on an average sailing.

Official Tasting Notes: Notes of salted caramel popcorn and tropical fruit on the nose. Notes of salted caramel popcorn, tropical fruit on the palate. Warm, viscous and a hint of brininess on the finish.

Our Thoughts On It: Overall, the process behind Jefferson’s Ocean certainly makes this a unique product. However, whether the process creates a different flavor profile is up for debate. At best, I think the sea aging process adds a touch of salt and smoke complexity that usually doesn’t appear in bourbon, but those notes are very subdued.

A Cocktail To Try It In (recipe from the brand):

Jefferson’s Ocean on the Rocks

  • 2 ounces Jefferson’s Ocean (or Jefferson’s Ocean Cask Strength)
  • Ice

Pour Jefferson’s Ocean over ice, enjoy.

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