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The principal author of the Declaration of Independence and one of the greatest Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson was elected the third President of the United States in 1800. During his tenure, Jefferson authorized the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, dispatched Lewis and Clark westward to explore the remainder of the continent and repealed the Whisky Excise Tax.
After Jefferson retired from public office in 1815, he often tended to the garden that he had cultivated on his Monticello estate. At the time, it was customary for wealthy farmers, including Jefferson, to distill the excess grains they harvested from their farms into spirits (George Washington was one of the country’s largest distillers of rye whiskey). As a result, each farmer’s spirits were unique and reflected the local terroir of their farm. The Jefferson’s brand pays homage to Jefferson and the fine whiskey he distilled.
Ocean’s Voyage is a series that launched in 2012. Trey Zoeller, Jefferson’s master blender, partnered with the founder of OCEARCH, Chris Fischer to create this special range. OCEARCH is a renowned non-profit organization that studies and monitors marine species, specifically the great white and tiger shark. OCEARCH gathers data on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of sharks in the North Atlantic Ocean, and to increase the sample size of the Great White Shark research.
The idea was inspired by the concept that the constant movement of liquid in the barrel ages whiskey faster due to an increase in contact with wood. Zoeller put five barrels of Jefferson’s bourbon on the MV OCEARCH, a 126’ Cat-powered at-sea laboratory. Jefferson's Ocean Bourbon was born. The barrels stayed aboard the ship for over three years passing through the Panama Canal a total of six times.
After the success of the first release, Jefferson’s ocean range grew exponentially, shipping hundreds of barrels around the world. A typical barrel crosses the equator at least four times, traveling to five continents. Jefferson’s Ocean Voyage Wheated is batch number 15. Crafted very small batches, this bourbon is distilled from a proprietary wheat mash bill. Wheat, replacing the typical rye, yields a fresh make spirit with a more subtle flavor, which allows for the maturation process to shine, profoundly enhancing the wood’s vanilla and the corn’s sweetness.
Traveling to 30 ports, this Ocean Voyage travels across the equator a total of 4 times, passing through areas of extreme heat, an element which acts as a catalyst that yields a substantial caramelization effect, caramelizing the sugars. The expedition also imparts a powerful brine to the spirit due to the sea salt air. Adding to the trifecta of elements is the constant movement of the barrels on the ship, which allows for more contact between liquid and wood. This dynamic maturation process creates an incredibly unique and exquisite spirit.