I don't typically go for things that are part of a series, but I was offered this one at a fair price so I figured I'd give it a whirl. I have become more and more of a fan of brandy from all over, so this Calvados finish definitely caught my eye as well. I actually sprung for this bottle over the Yellowstone Limited Edition that is being released now too under a Marsala Superiore cask finish label. Let's see what John Rempe has been up to with this one!
Company on Label: (Bottled for) Lux Row Distillers
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed 'ryed bourbon' mash bill
Age: 8 years (blend of 14, 11 and 8 year)
Further identification: This Pact No. 8 release of Blood Oath is finished in Calvados casks; it bears the date 2/14/2022 on its front label; the neck band reads "MMXXII" which in Roman numerals converts to "2022"
Nose: Sugary sweet nougat upfront with herbal tones hiding underneath. Mellow leather hangs softly in a balanced hammock of oak and twine. Deep inhales spring forth floral vanilla and honeysuckle. I definitely find this to nose higher in age but the oak influence is balanced well with fresh anjou pear. A swirl of the glass unlocks traditional bourbon molasses and pepper. Dry, old newspaper aromas rise from the disturbed liquid. The aromas remind me of an old fireplace in a long-forgotten home dearly overdue for a chimney sweep. Nougat sweetness returns over a bed of almond, cashew and pecan. I find a good bit of malty funk as the glass opens up. Time for a sip.
Coming back to the nose I find that is has turned even softer with buttery characteristics building well. More of the oak is beginning to shine through and I find it in nuanced layers, indicative of the broad blend that formed this whiskey. My nose still seems to tell me that the older bourbon is really shining first and foremost. Overall it is bright, light, and incredibly enjoyable on the nose. The empty glass smells of peanut butter, creamy bread pudding, and funky smoke.
Palate: Right away the sweetness shocks my teeth. Light overall with caramel and neapolitan wafers up front. I'm left impressed but perplexed at first; likely some characteristic of the Calvados finish I haven't quite placed yet. Coming back for a second sip reveals lovely soft tea, a bright & tart plum, and a shimmering vanilla. The mouthfeel is a unique mix of a creamy coating and a tart grenache with slight acidity. The linger is distinctly cookie-like, almost leaning towards a Nilla wafer. Continuing to sip through this I find more soft, candied fruits delivering in one swift punch, leaving their soft-skinned imprints on my tongue. Sweet apple builds in increasing intensity after each sip. A bigger sip and swish reveals a nice shimmer of allspice and light cinnamon. Getting lower in the glass I begin to find a few tannic notes that start to build alongside really subtle clove and soft metallics. This settles with time into a completely enjoyable medley of several chocolate variants. The liquid and the linger feels cool in the mouth. My last sip is lively with pear coming through again, a tingle of cinnamon in the center of my tongue and then a juicy burst of cherry & fig on the follow through. I am left well satisfied from the sip as my first glass of the day, though the finish could certainly linger a little longer for me to further enjoy the lovely profile it imbued upon me.
I found this to be incredibly unique and very well crafted. Fans of sweeter sips, white wine, cider or Calvados will definitely enjoy the extra notes the finish imparted without covering up what tastes to be a great base whiskey blend. This didn't quite have the wow factor to earn my 5 score, but a 4 is high praise for me nonetheless. I think this did everything that it said it was going to do based on the information they provide; it tastes like a well aged bourbon with all the hallmarks of what Calvados should have imparted. Well done. I'm going to thoroughly enjoy tasting through the rest of this bottle with family and friends!