Blood Oath- Pact 1
In April 2015, Luxco, distributors of the Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks bourbon lines (among other spirits) announced the launch of Blood Oath, an ultra-premium bourbon blend to be released annually. Only 15,000 bottles of Blood Oath-Pact 1 were released; in 2016, Luxco will release 15,000 bottles of Blood Oath-Pact 2, which will be a separate blend altogether.
Luxco is a non-distiller producer (NDP) based in St. Louis and has been relatively transparent with respect to what's in the bottle. The gentleman in charge of creating the Blood Oath blend, John Rempe (a.k.a "the mad scientist"), explains the rationale for entering the ultra-premium market as an NDP in the video below.
If you've read other reviews or watched the video, you know that Blood Oath-Pact 1 is a blend of a 12-year-old rye bourbon, a 7-year-old rye bourbon, and a 6-year-old wheated bourbon.
As Brian Haara at Sipp'n Corn reported, Heaven Hill produces Rebel Yell and Ezra Brooks for Luxco. Heaven Hill also produces a 12-year-old rye bourbon (Elijah Craig), a 7-year-old rye bourbon (Evan Williams Black), and a 6-year-old wheated bourbon (Larceny)...Therefore, it's entirely possible that John Rempe selected barrels destined to be those products, blended them at the Luxco bottling plant, and cut it to 98.6 proof (i.e. the temperature of human blood). While the percentages of the blend are unknown, Haara believes that, based on color, Rempe relied on the younger bourbons for a majority of the blend.
Josh Peters at The Whiskey Jug guesses that Blood Oath is a blend of 12-year-old Jim Beam, 7-year-old Four Roses (he even identifies a 4R blend of OBSV), and 6-year-old Rebel Yell. While it seems more likely that Luxco would have sourced whiskey from a single distillery as opposed to three, the Blood Oath label claims that Rempe's blend is "loyal to no one family, favoring no one distillery and bound by no one philosophy." Bold claim if the whiskey didn't come from a variety of operations.
Whatever the blend is, the bourbon blogosphere seems to agree that Blood Oath is overpriced. A 750 mL blend of the combinations described above would run a whiskey consumer $35-$40. You're paying for handsome packaging and the pride of owning a limited release. Is it worth it?
Blood Oath- Pact 1
Nose: I took my sweet time swirling Blood Oath and primarily got a balance of sweet vanilla and acetone (i.e. nail polish remover). There are more distant notes of popcorn, confectioner's sugar, and lemon thyme.
Tasting Notes: Upon taking the first sip, our eyebrows shot up. Blood Oath is hot early, featuring a Red Hot cinnamon bite and peppery rye spice. It softens into red apple, vanilla, and honey sweetness, but is a pleasant punch in the throat, mostly.
Overall: B. John Rempe has done his job of blending fine whiskeys. Luxco has done its job of packaging and marketing the heck out of its initial ultra-premium bourbon offering. The bottom line is that we really enjoyed sipping on Blood Oath-Pact 1. The question of "worth it" is obviously subjective and relative, but $90 is a significant amount of money for a sourced blend.