Join us tonight for Historic Flights at The Silver Dollar!

Rhetoric is one of Diageo’s “Orphan Barrel” Whiskeys. The idea of an orphan barrel is that the barrel was lost in the warehouse and forgotten about until someone discovers it. In this day of computer tracking and such this should not happen very often and it would seem from the number of “Orphan Barrels” bottled by Diageo they are either very bad book keepers or using it as a marketing ploy. In any case they have “found” many good barrels of whiskey to bottle. Rhetoric is no exception.

Today I am joined by a couple of my future nephews-in-laws, Matt Kohorst and Peter Reinert. They are both fairly new to Bourbon and want to learn more about the spirit. I am more than happy to have them join me with the tasting.

Rhetoric Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Proof: 90.6

Age: 23 years old


  • Mike: Caramel and old leather with a little baking spices and cherries/berries and a hint of smoke.
  • Matt: Sweet with caramel and lemon Pledge type citrus and leather.
  • Peter: Caramel and black cherries with a wood finish aroma.


  • Mike: Caramel with berries and baking spices – nutmeg and allspice with some smoky oak. With a dried cranberry the fruit disappears, but a buttery caramel flavor comes out strong. With a pecan, a milk chocolate flavor with baking spices and lots of oak.
  • Matt: Milk chocolate and cherries. With a dried cranberry there is a lemon zest with a hint of oranges. The pecan brings out the milk chocolate, almonds and sweet cream.
  • Peter: Very smooth with caramel and raspberries with a hint of smoky oak.


  • Mike: Long and dry with oak and spice with just a hint of the sweet flavors lingering in the background. With the dried cranberry the finish is more on the sweet side with caramel and a hint of oak. The pecan brings out dark chocolate and dry oak.
  • Matt: The finish is sweet with caramel, chocolate and leather. The cranberry made the finish more tannic with oak but also a little creamy. The pecan made the finish like a dark chocolate stout beer.
  • Peter: The finish was very fruity with berries and oak. The cranberry lessened the oak and brought out the raspberry. The pecan was very nutty with almonds and a dark chocolate stout beer.

I decided to have a My Father “The Judge” cigar with this Bourbon. I found the smoke intensified the spices in the Bourbon while the Bourbon added a bit of crème Brule’ creaminess and burnt sugar to the smoke. This is a very good Bourbon and pairs well with a good cigar.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller