Diageo announced its latest Orphan Barrel, the tenth in the collection. The company said Rhetoric 23-year-old originates from whiskey distilled between 1990 and 1993 at the Bernheim when United Distillers owned it. Bourbon Hall of Famer Edwin Foote would have been the distiller then, and he made great whiskey.
The mashbill is 86% corn, 8% malted barley and 6% rye.
It’s bottled in Tennessee, is 45.3% ABV and with an MSRP of $120. No more whiskey details were immediately given.
Whether this is a dud will have everything to do with how it was aged and filtered, because, in my opinion, Foote was one of the best distillers of his time. When bourbon ages past 12 years old, the wood clock begins: The day it becomes too woody, only filtration can save it. (Bourbon must always age in new charred oak, often making the oak note very prominent in older bourbons.)
Rhetoric 23 is the fourth of the Rhetoric series, which come from the same stocks and continue to be aged. That means Rhetoric 24-year-old comes next year, giving consumers an interesting study of how wood influences these older releases. The Rhetoric series gives us the opportunity to compare 20, 21, 22, 23 and soon 24-year-old bourbons.