Visitors to this site know that I am a huge fan of Luxco brands. I’ve picked many barrels from Luxco and I have never been disappointed with the people, the experience, or the whiskey. It should come as no surprise then, that I always keep a watchful eye out for an email from Luxco announcing the details of one of their most coveted annual releases: the Blood Oath series.
The Blood Oath Bourbon series began back in 2015 when food scientist and Master Blender/Distiller John Rempe released his first secretive blend of aged bourbon under this new Luxco label. Since that time, the series has gained a massive following and Rempe has released seven more pacts, each consisting of masterful blends of aged whiskey and one or more unique finishing processes.
In April 2023, Luxco announced the release of Pact No. 9, a blend of 16-year ryed bourbon, 12-year ryed bourbon, and 7-year ryed bourbon finished in Oloroso Sherry casks from the Sherry Triangle region in southwest Spain. This blend is bottled at 98.6 proof (49.3% abv) and retails for $129.99.
*Disclaimer – this sample was provided to me free of charge by the distillery; however, this did not impact my review of this product.
Appearance – deep amber with slow, thick legs.
Nose – the sherry finish is immediately present on the nose, providing a rich and creamy aroma of almonds, raisins, and dark fruit. With time, some traditional bourbon aromas of caramel and chocolate are present, along with hints of red grape, tobacco, and some barrel spice.
Palate – this whiskey presents with a creamy mouthfeel up front but feels somewhat restrained. The profile is predominantly sweet, with lots of dark fruit (dark cherry, berries, plum), tobacco, and some cinnamon spice developing mid-palate. The spice is quite mild and there is a minimal oak presence, which is surprising given the age of the whiskey in this blend.
Finish – the finish is medium-long and characterized by more of that dark red fruit sweetness. There is also some lingering spice mid-palate that intensifies along with some dark chocolate notes. A slightly musty oak flavor develops and helps tame the sweetness, along with providing some astringency to draw you back for the next sip.
Overall – this is a predominantly sweet whiskey and I am usually quick to voice my distaste for any product that I find overly sweet, particularly when there is a finishing process involved. However, this bourbon does not drink like most finished products. The sweetness from the Oloroso sherry finishing actually compliments the older whiskey in this blend and somehow does not feel overly sweet. This is a finished bourbon that still tastes like a bourbon!
This is not the first time you’ve heard me give praise to a Blood Oath release. John Rempe clearly knows how to blend and finish a whiskey, and I think this release is a perfect example of that. I doubt most of us will be able to find this at retail price, but if you are able to, I don’t think you will be disappointed. As always, give this one a try and let me know what you think.