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Jefferson’s Ocean vs Jefferson’s Reserve: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea vs Jefferson’s Reserve in this head to head comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea

NoseVanilla, oak, caramel
PalateSalted caramel, peach
FinishCinnamon, vanilla, oak spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toWoodford Reserve Double Oaked

Nose has a strong vanilla and caramel scent, followed by a tad of oak.

On the palate, Jefferson’s Ocean has a light to medium body. Flavor is muted from what you get on the nose. The front is somewhat hot but mellows out into a salted caramel flavor with a hint of peach.

The finish is kinda sweet, with a hint of cinnamon, vanilla and a dash of oak spice.

Jefferson’s Ocean is aged for 8 years at first on land, and then placed on a ship and allowed to rest for up to 10 months at the sea.

According to Jefferson’s the ship visits 5 continents while crossing the equator 4 times before returning home.

In theory, the rolling waves, temperature swings and barometric fluctuations produce extract more tannins from the barrel making it more flavorful.

In reality, Jefferson’s Ocean is a bourbon with a nice story to share over drinks, but the juice is average at best. An easy drinker with nothing remarkable to write home about.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Jefferson’s Ocean:

  • Aged for 8 months on land and then for 6 to 10 months at sea.
  • Mash bill is undisclosed.
  • When this whisky was first launched it was a small batch of 300 bottles!

Jefferson’s Reserve Very Old Bourbon

NoseVanilla, honey, cherry
PalateToasted oak, ripe fruit, apple, rye spice
FinishOak, tobacco, rye spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toBlanton’s, Maker’s Mark

The nose is quite smooth, with notes of vanilla and honey and a touch of cherry.

On the palate, Jefferson’s feels slightly viscous almost velvety. Taste is smooth, with a good balance between fruity and spicy notes, followed by toasty oak. There is a bit of heat to it but nothing terrible.

The finish has a decent lengthto some degree warm, with a kick of spiciness and oak, but stays fairly smooth.

Adding water tunes down the heat and the rye spice making it more fruity while bringing a light roasted peanuts note.

Overall, Jefferson’s Reserve is nice and well rounded. Is not mind blowing or earth shattering but it gets the job done delivering an enjoyable bourbon.

There is bit of warmth to it but very manageable and can easily be tamed with a dash of water.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Jefferson’s Reserve:

  • Jefferson’s is a blend of 4 bourbons with different age statements.
  • Each batch is crafted from only 8 to 12 casks giving a real meaning to the term “Small Batch”.
  • Mash bill is unknown but apparently made from 60% corn, 30% rye, 10% malted barley.
  • Earned 94 points from the Beverage Testing Institute.
  • Jefferson’s was first released in 1997 by Trey Zoeller and his father Chet.
  • The brand is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, from France, who also owns brands such as Chivas Regal, Glenlivet, Avion Tequila, among several others.

Jefferson’s Ocean vs Jefferson’s Reserve: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Jefferson’s Ocean$85
Jefferson’s Reserve$60

Jefferson’s Ocean vs Jefferson’s Reserve: Which is better?

Reserve is better than Ocean as it feels more nuanced.

  • I found Jefferson’s Ocean to be a disappointment, an expensive disappointment. It lacks in body and taste making an average at best bourbon at a price in which it should deliver more.
  • Ocean has a good story to share over drinks but the juice is not that good, to be honest and not worth paying for.

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