Diageo introduced a new line of whiskies – Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company. Its purpose is to release rare and old whiskies from its stocks. The first two releases, Old Blowhard and Barterhouse, have recently hit shelves, with more releases planned for later this year.
(Disclaimer: I was sent small review samples of both Old Blowhard and Barterhouse from Diageo.) This review will cover Old Blowhard.
Old Blowhard bourbon was aged for 26 years. I was in third grade when this was distilled. Yikes! Before I get into how it tastes, I want to talk about packaging. Like I said in a previous post, the most important aspect of a whiskey is how it tastes and smells. However, packaging plays a small but important factor. If you go to a liquor store and browse the shelves, a bottle’s shape and label can draw you in or get lost on the shelf. Old Blowhard’s old-time inspired label is among my favorites. It’s a gorgeous nautical-themed label affixed to an elegant bottle. So, how does this 26 year old 90.7 proof whiskey taste?
Oaky. Then again, you have to expect that from a whiskey this old. It’s not all oak, though. There’s some faint caramel when you smell it, but it’s hiding behind oak. There’s some depth in flavor here. It’s rich and a little spicy. There’s a little sweetness. Not caramel-sweet… more like dried fruit sweet. It’s definitely not your average bourbon. The finish is quick and dry. No slow burn here. I really wish it lasted longer.
I like this whiskey. So much in fact that I decided to treat myself to a bottle. I went to three different liquor stores before I found one and picked it up $20 cheaper than the suggested retail price of $150. There are older and more expensive bourbons out there (Pappy Van Winkle 23 and Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve 30 year), so Old Blowhard is cheaper in comparison. However, $150 is still pretty pricey. Note, all three stores I visited did not have them on the shelf. You’ll probably have to ask for it.
Tasting Old Blowhard was an interesting and pleasant experience. It’s the oldest whiskey I’ve tasted (remember, I’m still new to the game). I’ll gladly go back to Old Blowhard again. Not too often though – once this release of Old Blowhard is gone, that’s it. Get it while you can if you’ve got some spare cash and are looking for an older, occasional sipper. Have you tasted Old Blowhard? Share your thoughts below.