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Jefferson’s explores tropical climates with new line

Pernod Ricard-owned Jefferson’s Bourbon has released an expression aged in the Singapore heat as the first bottling in a new climate-focused range.

A bottle of bourbon on a table with a magnifying glass, pocket watch, and glass of whiskey
The latest innovation from Jefferson’s involves a period of ageing in Singapore

The launch of the new bottling follows the brand’s Ocean Aged at Sea Voyage series, whereby Bourbon barrels were placed on ships that sailed around the globe.

The first release in the Tropics collection shows the impact that 18 months in Singapore can have on aged Kentucky straight Bourbon.

“By distilling it in Kentucky and utilising the great limestone water and then getting the seasons for four or five years before shipping it over there, we’re getting the best of both worlds,” Jefferson’s founder Trey Zoeller said.

He points to so-called ‘honey holes,’ or traditional warehouse locations where increased heat and humidity produce superior whiskey. “I think this is taking it that much further,” he added.

To create the inaugural release, Jefferson’s sent 720 barrels of Bourbon to a port in Singapore.

While some barrels were allowed to age there for as long 22 months, Zoeller said that 18 months delivered the heightened sweetness he was seeking. “You can leave [Bourbon] in a warehouse in Kentucky for years, decades. You’ll never get these flavours out,” he says. “It totally transformed the Bourbon.”

Where a whiskey is aged can have a huge effect on the final product, as extreme climate conditions can promote barrel interaction, and lead to increased flavour.

Zoeller examined traditional ageing techniques, and placed barrels in various locations around the US to observe how different climates can shape flavour. Hot and humid climates, he decided, had a slow cook effect on the Bourbon, one that enhanced notes of cherry, vanilla, and caramel.

At 85 miles north of the equator, Singapore provided the right combination of climate and safety for Zoeller to bring his ageing experiment there. He notes the differences in this whiskey when compared to Bourbon distilled on the same date but aged in Kentucky. “It’s more than substantial,” he says. “It is evident that, in my mind, it’s improved.”

Jefferson’s Tropics Aged in Humidity: Finished in Singapore is bottled at 52% ABV and priced at US$100.

Additional releases in the series will explore similarly extreme environments.

Pernod Ricard is planning to build a US$250 million (€238m) distillery for Jefferson’s.

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