We couldn’t think of a better place to taste the seventh release from pioneers, The Gifted Horse, than the last standing Victorian manor in downtown LA, The Vacancy. This cozy speakeasy oozes old Holywood, with intricate character details and a soft, warm glow. To get to the exclusive tasting hosted by DIAGEO, we were invited through the back door, and upstairs, under a burlesque dancers bed, where we stumbled on the best-kept secret; a ‘Bulleit Cooler’, one of two welcome cocktails made with Bulleit Bourbon, Amaro, Aperol, and Lemon Juice. Delicious!
After meeting and mingling with the other guests, we were ushered into the tasting realm where we were gifted with a night of taste and sound and cinema as we watched mixologist Destinee Almonte work magic before our eyes. It was the perfect scenery to take in the new barrel, or old barrel as the story may be, and enjoy a refreshing take on what is clearly a well-loved liquor. Keep reading to find out what happened, how it came to be, and how to capture this night at home!
How This Whiskey Marvel Came to Be
Some time ago at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Ky., a batch of beautiful 17-year-old Kentucky bourbon was accidentally mixed with barrels of much younger whiskey. This error turned out better than anyone could have expected as the older bourbon wasn’t marred, but was transformed into something surprisingly special. Realizing this unique liquid deserved a home, The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. today announced the seventh addition to its portfolio, The Gifted Horse American Whiskey.
The Gifted Horse (115 proof/57.5% ABV) is comprised of 38.5% 17-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, distilled at the Bernheim Distillery historically located at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville, Ky., while operated by United Distillers. It also contains 51% four-year-old bourbon and 10.5% four-year-old corn whiskey, both produced at a high-quality distillery in Indiana. Initially, these individual whiskeys were stored at their original distilleries before being moved to Stitzel-Weller, where the mingling error occurred.
“As one of my favorite Orphan Barrel releases to-date, The Gifted Horse is proof that not all great inventions are planned,” said Ewan Morgan, Master of Whiskey for DIAGEO. “A one-of-a-kind whiskey, The Gifted Horse will be right at home in the Orphan Barrel family as a delicious and complex sipping whiskey we’re excited to share with true aficionados.”
The Paddock Cocktail Recipe by Destinee Almonte
Beginning with a nose hinting at apple skin, almond, toffee, raisins and slight milk chocolate, The Gifted Horse has unique tasting notes of creamy caramel, Bosc pear and fruit cake. This unusual blend’s fruity notes become more apparent with a splash of water. The Gifted Horse’s package design reflects the lucky fortune in discovering such a unique whiskey, featuring a lighthearted illustrative style, a horseshoe, and the prominently featured Gifted Horse image. Hinting at what’s inside the bottle, the weathered red label entices those to discover a whiskey bold and flavorful.
The tasting began with two whiskey masters at DIAGEO regaling the tale of how The Gifted Horse came to be; by understanding how the two whiskeys were blended together, it enabled us to appreciate the notes both as is and with water. Each gave a distinctly different taste in the moments after. We loved how the water brought out the fruity notes but heard a lot of murmurs of appreciation for the toffee and caramel notes when sipped neat.
An Orphan Barrel first last night was the cocktail they made with No Vacancy’s head mixologist, Destinee Almonte. Using The Gifted Horse, Almonte made all of us The Paddock cocktail, a deliciously refreshing end to a bold and favorable evening. This is the first time Orphan Barrel has ever created a cocktail out of one of their seven releases. You can find the recipe below:
- 1 oz. The Gifted Horse
- 1/4 oz. Velvet Falernum
- 1 quarter roasted pear
- 2 bar spoons sugar
- 1 dash Cardamom Bitters
- Topped with soda
- Garnish with a sugared pear
The Gifted Horse was hand bottled in Tullahoma, Tenn. and highly allocated, with no future releases planned. The seventh release from Orphan Barrel is available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $50.
About The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co.
The Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. was started in 2014 with the goal to locate nearly forgotten barrels of whiskey from around the world and share them with discerning adult fans. The Gifted Horse follows six previous Orphan Barrel releases, all Kentucky bourbons: Barterhouse (20-Year-Old), Old Blowhard (26-Year-Old), Rhetoric (20-Year-Old and 21-Year-Old), Lost Prophet (22-Year-Old) and Forged Oak (15-Year-Old). Orphan Barrel reminds discerning adult fans lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle to sip slowly and responsibly.