Tasting Notes: Blood Oath Bourbon – Pact No. 4

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This review is long overdue. With all the hype surrounding the recent release of Pact No. 5, I thought it was time to revisit this bottle and finally give it the attention it deserves. I must admit that I have not tried all 5 pacts yet, but I have tasted several and Pact No. 4 continues to stand out as a leader in this line of blended whiskey.

This is Blood Oath Pact No. 4, originally released in March 2018 by the fine people over at Lux Row Distillers, a subsidiary of Luxco. Blood Oath is the brainchild of John E. Rempe, a veteran food scientist and the Master Distiller and Blender at Lux Row, who is responsible for several of their successful brands, including Rebel Yell. For this limited release line, Rempe took advantage of his seasoned palate and freedom to source bourbon, and created masterful blends of unique whiskey that are layered with complex flavors. 

This particular pact is a blend of three bourbons:  the first, an extra-aged-12-year-old bourbon; the second, a rich 10-year-old-bourbon; and the third, a 9-year-old bourbon finished in toasted bourbon barrels to add additional flavor and complexity. The exact mashbills are not disclosed, although the distiller has confirmed the ingredients of corn, rye, and barley.  Based on the taste, I think it is safe to assume that there is a fair amount of rye in this blend. This limited release resulted in 36,000 bottles and comes in at 98.6 proof (49.3% abv). This bottle originally retailed for $99.99 but prices have since risen considerably.


Tasting:

Appearance – burnished copper with long, pronounced legs in the glass.

Nose – the nose initially delivers classic bourbon notes of rich vanilla and caramel that blend wonderfully with mild oak char. With time the nose opens up with notes of milk chocolate, roasted peanut, and dark fruit jam.

Palate – this bourbon presents somewhat thin on the palate but there is no shortage of flavor. There is mild alcohol along with the expected oak char and some toasted grain, but I was surprised to find notes of tropical fruit, reminiscent of roasted pineapple, that provides a nice sweet and smoky flavor that works well with the rye spice and heavy caramel that also come through.

Finish – the finish is medium-long leaving a buttery mouthfeel, which was a pleasant change from the somewhat thin initial presentation. I found more roasted peanuts, heavy cinnamon, toasted grain, and caramel on the finish, giving way to dry oak notes that linger for some time.

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Overall – Pact No. 4 is a wonderful sipping whiskey that is far too easy to drink at nearly 100 proof. This whiskey is flavorful and complex, and provides the perfect amount of challenge for those interested in exploring a blend of some older whiskeys with different mashbills and finishes. I am impressed by the variety of flavors every time I crack into this bottle, which is something I don’t encounter as often as I would hope. The $100 price tag may seem a little daunting at first, especially for a sourced bourbon, but I personally think this bottle lives up to the hype and consistently delivers a wonderful sipping experience.

Pact No. 4 has been out for over a year now so I imagine there aren’t many bottles left out of that initial 36,000, so don’t be afraid to pick up a bottle if you are lucky enough to find one.

Cheers!

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