Best of the Best 2016: Leisure | Spirits: Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 21-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon

The original Bernheim mash bill from which this bourbon was distilled was 86 percent corn...

A tale of long-forgotten barrels discovered in the shadowy corners of an old brick warehouse adds a note of intrigue to any spirit, including this 21-year-old Kentucky bourbon. It was distilled in 1993 at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, then shipped to the nearby Stitzel-Weller Distillery, where the barrels languished for more than two decades. The hand-bottled result is Rhetoric, a superb sipping bourbon full of sweet tobacco, leather, honey, cedar, and a touch of mystery. 

  • The original Bernheim mash bill from which this bourbon was distilled was 86 percent corn, 8 percent malt, and 6 percent rye. 
  • Additional barrels of this whiskey still lurk, so watch for older variations in the future, including a 25-year-old.
  • The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company is the name used by Diageo, the largest spirits company in the world, for some of its older whiskeys.

Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company, ($100)

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