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Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon Review: Outsider Whiskey Reviews

by Jim Casey
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Photo by Outsider

Pursuit Spirits released two expressions—a bourbon and a rye—in its brand-new Oak Collection, a blend of whiskeys finished in toasted oak barrels. The Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon is a blended straight bourbon whiskey featuring juice from three distilleries in Tennessee (undisclosed), New York (Finger Lakes Distilling), and Indiana (MGP) that has been finished in toasted American and French Oak. The Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye is a blended straight rye whiskey featuring three different mash bills from distilleries in Kentucky (Bardstown Bourbon Co.) and Maryland (Sagamore Spirit).

Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye (left) and Bourbon (right): photo by Outsider

Today, let’s review the Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon, Batch 11CC (November 2022), which is now available at retail locations in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.

At a Glance

  • Company: Pursuit Spirits
  • Location: Bardstown, KY
  • Style: Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Distilleries: Finger Lakes Distilling (New York), MGP (Indiana), and an undisclosed Tennessee distillery (not Tullahoma)
  • Proof: 108
  • MSRP: $74.99
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Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon: photo by Outsider

Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon Review: What We Say

NoseCola, Honey, Alcohol
PalateTannins, Orange Zest, Bittersweet Chocolate, Dried Cherry, Sorghum, Sassafras
FinishToasted Oak, Pepper Spice, Cardamon, Long Finish
What You Can Expect to Pay$75
Value4/5
Buy it Now, Soon, or NeverSoon
Outsider Rating86/100

The nose is strong, both warming with sweetness and noticeably astringent. Still, it’s very welcoming. And what a confounding first sip, but blends usually do that to me. It opens with tannins, but the flamed citrus zest, bittersweet chocolate, and dried cherry merge with the sweetness of sorghum and sassafras. It’s almost like baking a black forest tart in your mouth.

The mash bill notes the use of “cherry smoked barley,” and if you’ve ever used cherry wood while smoking meats like pork, it imparts the mildest sweetness—and that’s what this Oak Collection Bourbon reminds me of. The finish on this whiskey is the best part: long, oaky, and slightly peppery. I can’t wait to pair this bourbon with a pepper-crusted smoked pork loin.

With the addition of a teeny-tiny ice cube, the initial tannins are negated and you go right to the best parts of this juice. Really impressive.

What Pursuit Says

“I guess you’re not a real whiskey company until you have a toasted release,” says Pursuit co-founder Kenny Coleman. “In all seriousness, the Oak Collection creates a better whiskey than traditional re-barreling because it allows us to develop a custom blend to match a particular wood finish.”

“Finding the right blend and wood finish proved to be a challenge because there are many variables at play,” says Pursuit co-founder and blender Ryan Cecil. “My goal was to complement the whiskeys being used. I did not want to hide them behind the flavors of the wood.”

We started drinking this bourbon neat, but the addition of the smallest ice cube really unleashed the best parts of Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon. While we typically don’t mix $75 juice in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned, this bourbon’s notes of cherry and orange zest would complement the cocktail admirably.

If You Like Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon, Try:

Higher price tag, higher proof, and a luxurious melding of four juices—Kentucky bourbon, two Indiana ryes, and Canadian whiskey.

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