Jefferson’s Ocean was created when Trey Zoeller became curious about 19th century Bourbon that was shipped to California by sailing ship. The legend was that the rocking motion of the waves helped age the Bourbon faster in the barrel and it would pick up a little bit of the ocean’s brine flavor. So he decided to put some barrels on a boat and sail with it in the hold for several months. After the voyage he found that there was a little salty brine flavor in the Bourbon and the liquid was darker than the barrels that were the same age that did not make the voyage. Legend confirmed in his opinion, so he started marketing the “Ocean Bourbon”.

This bottle is a bit different because he sent several barrels of Bourbon with wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. It sailed for several months and passed through the Panama Canal in both directions. It was the 15th time he had done this experiment with Bourbon but I believe the first time he did it with a “wheated” Bourbon. The results are interesting. I personally think the wheat gives it too much of a soft flavor making the salt more pronounced and distracting. I think I prefer the traditional Bourbons that have made this voyage. However, it is still a very drinkable Bourbon.

Jefferson’s Ocean, Voyage 15, Wheated Bourbon

Proof: 90

Age: No Age Statement

Nose: There is a crème brûlée caramel sweetness that is slightly smoky with a hint of oak.

Taste: Caramel apples sprinkled with salt. Tasted with a dried cranberry the vanilla comes forward and the apple moves to the background. Tasted with a pecan and some apricot fruit comes out and the oak intensifies.

Finish: The finish is an interesting mixture of oak and brine that lasts a long time. The cranberry increased the oak and reduced the brine while the pecan made the finish very dry with intense oak and salt.

The cigar I chose to pair with this Bourbon is a Nat Sherman Panamericana Robustico. I find the smoke to be rich tobacco flavor with some vanilla and spice. The Bourbon made the smoke a little salty and increased the spice. Reminded me of smoking by the sea shore. The smoke brought out the apple and apricot flavors in the Bourbon. A very nice pairing.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller