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Barterhouse Bourbon Aged 20 Years - Diageo's Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project

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Has anyone had either of the orphan barrel bourbons from Diageo yet?  I know a bunch has been written on bourbon blogs and other sites about the validity of the marketing claims and the source of the bourbon, but I've read very few reactions from people who actually own a bottle and have poured from it.  I'm hoping to get one in the mail shortly, and once Passover ends I'll share my thoughts.  I wanted to get the thread started, though, to see if anyone else has partaken yet.

For a little background from Diageo's marketing materials via BourbonBlog.com:

"The goal of The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project is to share old and rare whiskey from our barrel houses with discerning whiskey adorers.  The first two whiskies to be released from the project will include the 20-year-old Barterhouse and the 26-year-aged Old Blowhard. Both are American Kentucky Bourbons, hand bottled in Tullahoma Tennessee and are expected to begin appearing on select shelves throughout the U.S. in early 2014 under strict allocation due to limited supply.  Additionally, Diageo is creating a separate new-to-world bourbon called Blade and Bow. Blade and Bow is anticipated to hit shelves in the second half of 2014 and is not a part of the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Project."

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I managed to pick one up from a store in Indiana and another from a store in New York that have employees who don't mind shipping (be it legal or not).  It's showing up at bars around Richmond, but not in the ABC stores yet.  I'm drinking a glass neat right now, and I think it's pretty good.  Not a lot of heat, but that is expected from a 90 proof bourbon.  I'm not sure I've had anything with a definitive 20 year age statement, so it's a bit more muted than I'm used to.  It's not as sweet as say Elijah Craig. The taste is a bit earthier or woodier I guess, fitting it being Earth Day.  For $75 I think it's a nice, curious splurge that I'll enjoy sharing with my bourbon drinking friends, but I don't think I'll go near the $150 Old Blowhard.  It's not on par with the other three premium bottles I have (Four Roses 125, Bookers 25, and Parkers Heritage of Hope), but it's definitely more interesting than your average $40 bottle.

I've heard bottles like this can open up after a few weeks from the initial tasting, so I'd be curious to try it again around Memorial day to see if my impressions change.


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The orphan barrels have certainly been getting press the last two weeks but I have not seen them in any stores yet.  Have you?

Officially on the shelf at my local VA ABC store, along with the latest release of Stagg Jr.  If I was a more patient man, I'd have saved myself some money and shelf space, but now I've got two bottles each of the Bookers 25, Barterhouse, and Stagg Jr since they showed up at out-of-state online retailers before arriving in the Commonwealth.  Next on my agenda is the Barrel Proof Elijah Craig.

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