Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Review

*Sincere thanks to Common Ground PR and Luxco for the sample.

I hate to say it, but I think I kind of overdid it on the Blood Oath Pact No.2 review. I pretty much threw every blood oath I could google in a short period of time into one review, and now, here I am with another Blood Oath whiskey to expound on and I’ve got nothing. Sure, I could spend even more time going down some interwebs rabbit hole, but really, what else am I going to find? An obscure stunt pulled by pseudo-lumberjack wrestler named Jos LeDuc, who famously swore a blood oath in an attempt to end Jerry “the King” Lawler’s career? Nah. Besides, being a Milwaukee boy, I always preferred The Crusher. And if I had to pick non-local squared circle heroes, then maybe I’d root for those High Flyers, Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne.

So, yeah, I don’t have all that much to say about actual blood oaths this time, which is perhaps all for the best. Even I think I’ve gotten pretty long-winded lately, maybe it’s time to just cut right to the chase. Luxco’s Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is, as the number three suggests, the third Blood Oath to hit the shelves. Pact No. 1 was made up of a 12 year old high rye bourbon, a 7 year old high rye bourbon, and a 6 year old wheated bourbon. Pact. No. 2 consisted of an 11 year old high rye bourbon, 11 year old wheated bourbon, and 7 year old high rye bourbon that had been finished in Port barrels. Released in a “limited” edition of 30,000 bottles in March of 2017, Pact No. 3 is comprised of three high rye bourbons: a 12 year old, a 7 year old, and another 7 year old that’s been finished in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from Napa Valley’s Swanson Vineyards. As with the previous Blood Oaths, Pact No. 3 comes beautifully packaged in a pine box and retro/vintage-y labeling.

The Nose:  A weighty, rich balance of sweetness and oak. There’s floral honey, tart pie cherries, a little bit of cherry cola, juicy oranges, and a hint of burnt banana meringue. The rye is strong and both herbal and toasted…fresh baked rye bread maybe. There’s solid vanilla bean notes as well as hints of candied almonds. The oak is polished and smoothly tannic with a touch of worn leather. Holding down the spicy side of things, there’s Vietnamese cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of fennel root, and a just bit of warmed corn oil towards the end.

The Palate:  Even more oak forward than the nose, but it’s still nicely complimented by sweet notes of more cherry cola, juicy ripe oranges, dark red fruits, and floral honey. The rye is still strong, lightly toasted with peppery herbal notes blooming towards the end. The nuttiness is now more roasted and salted and the vanilla bean earthy and vegetal. Though the oak is coarser here, and more tannic, it’s still well-integrated. There’s cut staves, allspice, nutmeg, raw ginger, and black pepper,

The Finish:  Lengthy and dominated by oak and spice. There’s a bit of cola and vanilla syrup sweetness, but mostly it’s nicely tannic and full of baking spices and ground pepper.

Thoughts:  Fairly excellent. This is a well put together bourbon that shows off the mashbill nicely and adds a subtle layer of complexity thanks to the wine cask finishing. The wine influence comes through in the form of red fruits and perhaps a little dusty oak and spice, but it’s so well incorporated that it doesn’t stand out as “the finished part.” I enjoyed Pact No. 2 very much, and thought it did a good job of showing off its components, but Pact No. 3 comes across as a more cohesive whiskey. The nose is more expressive and the palate slightly more tempered and balanced. Once again, the price is an issue for me. Luxco clearly has a good thing going, and they’ve judged their market well, but the ~$100 price tag of this one strikes me as high. Still, the whiskey itself, damn good and certainly recommended.

Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, +/-2017

49.3% ABv (98.6 degrees…I mean, proof)

Score:  88


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