Whiskey Sip-Off: Pursuit United Oak Collection – Bourbon vs. Rye

Whiskey Sip-Off: Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon vs Rye

(photo by Outsider)

It’s a Sip-Off. And today, we’ve got a pair of whiskeys from Pursuit Spirits in Bardstown, KY, going head-to-head: Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon vs. Rye.

Pursuit recently released two expressions—a Bourbon and a Rye—in its 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—Tennessee (undisclosed), Finger Lakes Distilling in New York, and MGP in Indiana—that has been finished in toasted American and French Oak. The Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye is a blended straight rye whiskey featuring a mashbill from Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Kentucky and two mash bills from Sagamore Spirit in Maryland that has been finished with Sherry French Revere Oak.

Check out our head-to-head comparison, in-depth review of each, and the Sip-Off winner.

SipOffPursuit United Oak Collection BourbonPursuit United Oak Collection Rye
Nosecola, honey, alcoholfruit punch, apple, apricot, pineapple, slightly medicinal
Palatemild tannins, orange zest, bittersweet chocolate, dried cherry, sorghum, sassafrasbriny, maple syrup, fruit punch, charred oak, pepper spice
Finishlong, toasted oak, pepper spice, cardamonmedium, tea, black pepper, warm

Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon

(photo by Outsider)

The nose is strong, both warming with sweetness and noticeably astringent. Still, it’s very welcoming. 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.

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. Impressive.

See our Full Review of Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon.

Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye

(photo by Outsider)

Right off the bat, the nose on this rye is very fruit punchy, with wafts of apple, apricot, and pineapple. But there’s also a slightly medicinal quality, somewhere between dried tea leaves and the pages of a 100-year-old book. On the palate, this rye is all over the place. It’s briny, yet sweet like maple syrup. There’s lots of black pepper, but also the fruit punch from the nose is conspicuous on the palate. The medium finish is warming with more pepper spice, and that slightly medicinal quality from the nose returns on the finish.

This Rye’s flavors feel at war with each other in a back-and-forth battle, which isn’t necessary a bad thing. It just feels like there’s a lot going. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. Just don’t know if I’d run out to get this bottle at the $75 price point.

See our Full Review of Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye.

Sip-Off Winner

(photo by Outsider)

This was an easy one. The Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon runs away with it. Pursuit’s Bourbon had some really nice notes, including the cola, dried cherry, and toasted oak finish, while the Rye was just a bit too fruit punchy for me.