Tuesday, March 5, 2019

#Bourbon Aged at Sea


Jefferson Ocean, bourbon aged at sea.

Visit Vino Etc., in downtown Oconomowoc(a.k.a, The Five O’s, O to the 5th, Ocondomowoc) and you’ll find more than an unpretentious selection of wine. You’ll discover over 45 different bourbons.

Top left is Jefferson Ocean - bourbon aged at sea. I know you might be thinking, ‘aging bourbon on a ship is a marketing ploy.' But it's not, it isn’t even original. The folks at Jefferson take bourbon aged for 8 years and roll them on ships to travel the world for three years. The idea sparked when the team was drinking bourbon onboard a ship back in the day. They noticed how the liquid sloshed back and forth in glasses; how would this work while in barrels?


In 2012, five barrels of Jefferson's were placed on a vessel for a three year voyage, crossing through the Panama Canal six times.

The resulting juice was incredible - “toasted, caramel, popcorn”. The variance in temperature - arctic to tropic - and the motion of the ocean - back and forth - helped the liquid expand and contract into the charred oak barrels producing a unique, dark and flavorful nectar.

Today, ships carry 8 year old bourbon bound for 30 ports, five continents, and traversing the equator five times. There are 180 barrels on the ocean at all time.


Placing bourbon on barges and ships is nothing new.

Originally, when bourbon produced in Kentucky was distributed to the rest of the country, barrels were loaded on barges and ships, sent down the Ohio and Mississippi river to New Orleans. Once there, either opened and consumed or shipped around Florida, ending up in where the majority of the US populace resided. Indeed, the founder of Jefferson’s bourbon, Trey Zoeller, believes what made whiskey so popular in Kentucky was the added taste acquired during the trip from New Orleans.

Whiskey picks up more flavor from the wood, and the salt air is breathed in by the barrel, giving a slight salty taste. Additionally, each voyage turns out a unique taste profile - imagine the difference in weather, ocean motion, and overall environmental influence from trip to trip. The current 17th journey is different from voyage two or three.

Neat, whiskey rocks or a cube, bourbon is to be enjoyed over good conversation with new acquaintances and lifetime friends. Visit Vino, Etc. and explore one of the over 45 different bourbons, including Jefferson's Ocean - check out Voyage 17. ​



The Jefferson’s Ocean tale could stop with the story about a boys trip in Costa Rica - but it doesn’t end there. The first, three year, experimental voyage was conducted on an oceanic research vessel, the MV OCRECH. Today, four barrels traverse the worlds oceans, while the MV OCRECH collects data and increases the sample size of Great White Shark research.

"Research expeditions are conducted aboard the M/V OCEARCH, which serves as an at-sea laboratory. The M/V OCEARCH is powered by Caterpillar engines and offers a 75,000 lb. capacity hydraulic platform designed to safely lift mature sharks out of the ocean for access by a multi-disciplined research team to conduct 12 studies in 15 minutes. OCEARCH has partnered with 157 researchers from 83 regional and international institutions.” - Jefferson’s Ocean webpage.



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