In 2012, Jefferson’s Bourbon founder and master blender Trey Zoeller partnered with OCEARCH founder, Chris Fischer. OCEARCH, a globally recognized nonprofit dedicated to the study and tracking of keystone marine species such as great white sharks and tiger sharks, to test out a theory.
With the idea that constant movement of the liquid in the barrels ages the whiskey faster because more of the liquid is in contact with the wood more often, Zoeller strapped five barrels of Jefferson’s bourbon to the MV OCEARCH, a 126’ Cat-powered vessel that serves as OCEARCH’s mothership and at-sea laboratory.
The barrels stayed onboard for more than three years crossing through the Panama Canal six times. “I had no idea what it would taste like,” Zoeller said. “When we tapped into the barrels, it completely exceeded my expectations. The liquid was black, almost syrupy. The sugars had caramelized. It was fantastic.”
Currently, the MV OCEARCH is carrying four barrels of Jefferson’s bourbon and embarks on seasonal expeditions, to gather 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.
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