Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 is the 5th release of the Rhetoric lineup, which means we only have one more to go before the series wraps up and we see “completed” sets going for insane prices on the secondary market. Though it’s another year away so really who’s to say what will end up happening by then? The whiskey bubble could pop, the secondary markets collapse and we see well aged affordable whiskeys return to liquor store shelves everywhere… or it could stay the same as it is right now.
When I got to try this whiskey I also got a sample of the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 23 years along with it to do a side-by-side and I was rather surprised to discover the stark differences between the two. All of which we’ll get into in the review below!
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Review: Details and Tasting Notes
In Orphan Barrel’s Words: Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24
“Rhetoric 24 yearold is the twelfth release from the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company a beautiful whiskey aged twenty four years. Aged four years longer than the first release, it is slightly more mature and carries a higher proof. The whiskey will continue to be progressively aged and re-released annually at a year older, allowing whiskey aficionados to collect the series and compare the whiskeys side-by-side.”
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 price, ABV, age and other details
Distiller: Heaven Hill
Bottler: Orphan Barrel
Mash Bill: 86% Corn, 8% Barley, 6% Rye
Cask: New Charred Oak
Age: 24 Years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Tasting Notes
Oak, caramel, vanilla, clove, anise, cinnamon, dark fruit, leather, nuts and a bit of brown sugar.
Oak, vanilla, complex dark sweets (toffee, cocoa, caramel, etc.), complex spice (anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), honey and a light bit of leather and brown sugar.
Long -> Oak, caramel, vanilla, spice, honey and nuts.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Well balanced, full body and an oily feel.
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Review – OVERALL
Well this is interesting. I fully expected the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 to be even oakier and overwrought than the Rhetoric 23… but it isn’t. I even got to do them side by side and the 23 was distinctly more oaky than the 24 and that’s… surprising. The aroma is oaky heavy, but balanced by the sweetness. The palate is even oakier than the aroma and yet its balanced out by the sweetness and the spice. So what’s happening?
Is Diageo pulling old barrels from lower racks that won’t be as over-oaked to keep the overall oak profile down? Possible. Are they pulling some other kind of shenanigans like some crazy filtering or did the 23 contain whiskey older than 23 years? Possible, but not likely. I don’t know why side-by-side to the 23 the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 is less oaky, but still bold, and more balanced, but it is and I have to say I like it more.
SCORE: 89/100 (B+)
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*Disclosure: This Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 sample was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Review
- Nose - 89
- Palate - 89
- Finish - 89
- Balance, Body & Feel - 89
Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 Review Summary
In a weird twist the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 24 is less oaky and more balanced than the 23 and that’s just astounding. But whatever, I like it more than the 23 and definitely recommend it if you like balanced oak driven whiskey.