London-based Diageo plc announced the official start of its Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. The Tullahoma, Tenn.-based venture aims to locate lost and forgotten barrels of whiskey from around the world and share them with the growing base of whiskey aficionados in the United States, the company says.
The first two variants to be released from the company will include the 20-year-old Barterhouse Whiskey and the 26-year-aged Old Blowhard Whiskey. Both brands are expected to begin appearing on select shelves throughout the United States in March 2014 under strict allocation due to limited supply.
Barterhouse Whiskey stocks were discovered in old warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Ky. The whiskey's taste includes notes of roasted grain, charred oak and a brown sugar finish, the company says. Barterhouse Whiskey is bottled in Tullahoma and will have a suggested retail price of $75.
Old Blowhard Whiskey also was found at Stitzel-Weller and is hand-bottled in Tullahoma. At 26 years old, the whiskey offers undertones of smoke and honey followed by a dry and spicy finish with a hint of orange peel, the company says. Old Blowhard Whiskey has a suggested retail price of $150.
"The whiskey warehouses and rickhouses these spirits come from are special places filled with the incredible smells of seasoned oak, rough textures of weathered wood and amazing tastes of precious liquid," said Ewan Morgan, master of whiskey for Diageo, in a statement. "It's every worker's dream of finding that forgotten barrel of delicious whiskey and sharing it with their friends. That's exactly what we're doing."
Orphan Barrel whiskeys also have distinctive packaging to go along with their unique tastes, the company says. Barterhouse Whiskey packaging nods to the inspiration behind the whiskey's name and features a vintage khaki and brown label with the image of a fox after he's made a deal at the local trading post, it explains. The blue Old Blowhard Whiskey label features a whale exhaling through its blowhole coupled with powerful fonts that communicate the product’s age and status as a Kentucky bourbon, the company says.