July 23, 2020
Joseph Magnus Distillery and One Eight Distilling are both DC-based distilleries known for their sourced finished whiskeys: Joseph Magnus for Joseph Magnus bourbon and One Eight for their entire Untitled Whiskey range (with the exception of the unfinished Untitled No. 18). You might say that they have a friendly hometown rivalry because they’re both based in DC’s Ivy City neighborhood and less than 1 mile apart.
Joseph Magnus bourbon and Untitled No. 13 have quite a lot in common. Joseph Magnus Bourbon is an MGP-sourced bourbon finished in oloroso, Pedro Jimenez, and cognac casks. Untitled No. 13, also likely sourced from MGP, is finished in cognac, Spanish brandy, and amontillado, oloroso and Pedro Jimenez sherries. While the Untitled has 2 additional finishes (Spanish brandy and amontillado), both Magnus and Untitled can be more generally described as bourbon finished in brandy and sherry casks. As a result, I would expect that they would be similar, but there’s always room for variation and it doesn’t hurt to try them side by side just to make sure (for science). Let’s do some digging in this Joseph Magnus bourbon vs Untitled No. 13 finished bourbon comparison.
The below table outlines key facts and figures for each finished bourbon.
Joseph Magnus and Untitled No. 13 have so much in common that I could mistakenly think that they were different batches of the same bourbon. In the quiet of my own home, I’m able to slowly tease out those subtle differences, but in a different setting it would way be more difficult. This was a tough comparison, on par with Stagg Jr Batch 10 vs Stagg Jr Batch 7.
I’d say that these two bourbons are about 80-85% the same. The main differences come from how the finishes present themselves. The sherry and brandy finishes are apparent in both bourbons, but Joseph Magnus has darker sundried fruits and more funk while Untitled No. 13, even with some of the same sundried fruit notes, is fresher and livelier. Joseph Magnus provides more dark prune, grape, and date with that savory “rancio” aged cheese funk. Untitled adds fresher cherries, grapes, berries, and citrus with more subdued aged sherry and cognac funk. Both are great, just a little different.
This finished bourbon comparison reinforces that Joseph Magnus Bourbon and One Eight’s Untitled No. 13 are fantastic whiskeys that show off each Master Blender’s skills. While some “purists” may not approve of finished bourbons, my #1 goal is to drink delicious whiskey, and both delivered. Buy the one you can find, and buy both if you can afford it.