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It’s a rare opportunity for a self-funded booze blog to be able to taste test three fantastic, and not at all inexpensive bourbons side by side by side.

I have just had such an opportunity.

That’s right: Barterhouse, Rhetoric, and Lost Prophet… all on my dining room table!

The beauties all lined up: Rhetoric, Barterhouse & Lost Prophet

The beauties all lined up: Rhetoric, Barterhouse & Lost Prophet

Now. I did enlist Susy, Dan, and my wife Kari for this taste testing.  I took notes, Susy & Dan & I chatted, Kari made sure we had no idea which bourbon we were tasting.

So here are my notes on each ounce of bourbon as presented:

Bourbon #1:
Nose: Caramel, cloves, almond
Taste: Vanilla, brown sugar, cloves
Finish: Long and warm

Bourbon #2:
Nose: Butterscotch, biscuit
Taste: Pepper, Citrus
Finish: Hot

Bourbon #3:
Nose: Caramel, walnut, vanilla
Taste: Butterscotch, walnut, toast
Finish: Smooth

By the tasting notes, it’s difficult to tell which I liked best.  And I’ll be honest here, this was a bit like choosing your favorite child.  The deciding factor was really the finish, so I proclaimed that #3 was my favorite.

I then proclaimed that:

Bourbon #1 was Rhetoric; Bourbon #2 was Barterhouse; Bourbon #3 was Lost Prophet.

And I was correct.

We had done something similar not too long ago with other bourbons.  I, also, distinctly remembered that no matter how poetic I get about Barterhouse, its barrel notes are dialed back.  That made it easy to suss out which was Barterhouse.  And with such pronounced barrel notes velvety smoothness on #3, that *had* to be the oldest of the troupe: the 22 year old Lost Prophet.

I may or may not do a full write up on Lost Prophet and Rhetoric.  Again, these two are one-shots.  When they’re gone: they’re gone. And it’s my understanding that the American West Coast is sold out of Lost Prophet.  The sad reality is this:

Orphan Barrel’s offerings have gained a cult following… a cult that knows when a good thing has arrived and isn’t afraid to pay a premium for it.