John Rempe brings us his 9th installment of Blood Oath whiskey with this 2023 release making the rounds across the markets. This "very limited release" seems to scratch quite a few itches in the whiskey world - it's collectable given the finite supply, and it's marketed as being wholly unique. Rempe has a strong track record in my book with the Rebel 10 year releases of old coming to top of mind, but I've long steered clear of the Blood Oath line as the price and bottle always felt gimmicky to me. I'm finally ready to explore this one a few times to find out how I really feel about the whiskey in the bottle. Let's not dilly dally and get right into the review. That's what you're here for right?
Company on Label: Blood Oath (bottled for Lux Row Distillers)
Whiskey Type: Finished Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Age: 7 years (a blend of 16, 12 and 7 year rye bourbons)
Further identification: Pact 9 is the 2023 release from Blood Oath; it comes in a light wooden box
Nose: Deep age and barrel funk permeate out of the glass upon first lifting it to my nose. Soft apricot, cherry skins and a touch of tannin highlight the aromas that follow. Longer inhales produce notes of fig, almond and macerated grape. The nose lacks any further depth, urging me towards a sip.
Plunging my nose back into the glass after a few sips reveals little change except for the addition of more vanilla tones. Late in the glass I find bright oak, slight astringency and cardamom. The empty glass smells of damp soil, toasted oak and cherry pipe tobacco.
Palate: My first sip is creamy up front before dried red berries pop up all throughout the mouth. Cherry hots comes across with a bit of firepower. The mouthfeel is tingling, short and drying with the wine influence lingering the longest. Another sip and swish amplifies the nutty characteristics I picked up on the nose with almond extract and vanilla playing a small role in the overall simple profile. The sherry influence is very light, but it does seem to be producing most of the character. Balsamic vinaigrette and flashes of cool frozen fruit undulate late in the glass. Darker fruit like plum and blackberry are a late surprise suggesting more of a port influence than sherry, giving off a feeling that this glass can't seem to get its story straight. My last sip is a simple treat of light red berries, much like the glass started. Overall I'd say it drinks something like a lightly flavored Jim Beam.
TL;DR: Simple sipping whiskey for those who don't give a damn
If you value 'easy sipping' whiskey and also enjoy the status symbol of drinking expensive bottles, this release is probably for you. If you're on the hunt for the best tasting whiskeys in the world, this blend is definitely not that. I'd venture to even personally call this release altogether quite boring, though it certainly is not offensive. Due to these facts, I think it rightfully earned its place in the middle of the road - a solid 3 out of 5 simple sipper. It's certainly one I will keep in mind to share and enjoy with newer whiskey drinkers as an easy introduction, but I can't see myself reaching for this again on purpose for my own enjoyment. So many other whiskeys in this same proof range produce much more flavor and more enjoyable profiles.