So let’s start off by saying that I thought that this series of bourbon was a total gimmick and as a result, I held off buying any. Lucky for me, my wife overheard me explaining what this series was to some friends and she was thoughtful enough to pick me up a bottle for my birthday and let me tell ya, I was wrong. This is the real deal.
For those unfamiliar with what this series is about, Jefferson’s has taken small batches of bourbon, barreled them and then put them on a boat that then traverses the high seas, going to different ports and spending varying amounts of time at sea. Each “Voyage” is different, meaning they’ve changed something about the bottling, whether it’s the mash bill, the proof, the route that the ship takes, the ports they stop in, etc… and what you get is a unique bourbon each time.
My wife bought me Voyage 15. When I asked her why 15, she said that the little card they put on each batch sounded the best of the three that they had in stock. Voyage 15 is a wheated mash bill and as such, the wheat does not contribute as much flavor to the bourbon as say a rye or higher corn mash bill would, and as a result, allows more of the other flavors to take center stage. Good choice.
As I was tasting this bourbon, I was trying my best to find something to compare it to, and I was unable to do so. I pulled out a couple wheaters to compare it with and neither of them (Weller Special Reserve and Maker’s 46) were similar enough for me to make a fair comparison.
The nose on the Voyage 15 had hints of salted butterscotch and vanilla. The palate was oily and had your usual suspects: vanilla, oak, caramel, but there was also a tobacco note, like chewing on an unlit cigar with a sweetened cap like an Acid Kuba Kuba that I found to be quite nice. The finish had hints of allspice and cinnamon, with oak being present as well and a faint, almost rye-like dill note that seemed out of place.
Maybe it was because it was a gift from my wife, or maybe it’s because it just really is that good, but I really enjoyed this particular bourbon. I’ve seen it for as low as $65 in my area for Voyages 15-17 and I would recommend trying a bottle for that price. You’ll get a 90 proof bourbon with an interesting backstory that will be a unique pour for you and your friends and it tastes pretty great to boot!