This week we had the pleasure of sampling a deliciously spicy premium bourbon from America’s whiskey heartland. It’s the Wiseman from Kentucky Owl!
Bourbon is a humorous outdated factor. All that wealthy historical past of distilling relationship again to America’s basis as a rustic, and the arrival of Scots and Irish settlers. And but most American whiskey manufacturers are comparatively latest due to that little Twentieth-century interlude known as Prohibition.
It’s a bit boring, nonetheless, for brand new manufacturers simply to say, we’re making nice whiskey as a result of we’ve a ardour for good spirits, so there’s usually a vibrant Nineteenth-century story to even the newest of manufacturers. So it’s with Kentucky Owl whiskey.
The Kentucky Owl story
The unique model was based in 1874 by C.M. Dedman in Bardstown. It continued distilling, based on the web site, “till Prohibition turned legislation in 1916. At this level, the federal government seized some 250,00 gallons of Kentucky Owl, taking it away for safekeeping.” Although based on different sources, Prohibition didn’t come into impact in Kentucky till November 1919 so undecided why the federal government could be seizing whiskey three years early. Anyway, then there was a hearth and all of the inventory burned. Or did it? There have been rumours that the inventory was really pinched by bootleggers.
However frankly who actually cares because it has little or no to do with the present model. It’s like a type of tedious origin tales you get in British gin about somebody discovering his great-great grandfather’s long-lost recipe within the loft and recreating it with the assistance of a giant contract distiller close to London.
The model’s revival
Within the case of Kentucky Owl, the actual story begins in 2014 when the model was revived by Dixon Dedman, a descendant of the founder. He shortly constructed up the repute of Kentucky Owl by sourcing and bottling high-quality whiskeys, each bourbon, and rye, from different distilleries. Such was the aura across the model that bottles have been altering fingers on the secondary marketplace for considerably greater than RRP. Not unhealthy for a younger firm with no distillery.
In 2017, Kentucky Owl was bought by the Stoli group, which relies in Luxembourg and makes its vodka in Latvia, not Russia. Although there may be nonetheless a vodka model known as Stolichnaya in Russia however it has nothing to do with Stoli the corporate.
Confused? Nicely, it will get extra complicated once you return to Kentucky Owl. The Stoli Group has large plans for Kentucky Owl which embrace constructing an enormous pyramid-shaped distillery and model residence in Bardstown. The entire thing seems like one thing from the duvet of a ‘60s sci-fi novel. However regardless of having a breaking floor ceremony again in 2018, it doesn’t seem that something is operational and there’s a lot hypothesis about whether or not the distillery will ever open.
Then in 2021, the corporate introduced that Dixon Dedman was shifting on and John Rhea previously of 4 Roses had been signed as grasp blender. It appears he is aware of what he’s doing as one factor is obvious from sampling the most recent launch known as the Wiseman, Kentucky Owl’s stellar repute is totally deserved. In keeping with the press launch, it’s a mix of “Kentucky Owl 4-year-old wheat and high-rye bourbons” blended with “5 ½-year and eight ½-year-old Kentucky-sourced bourbons.” Love these half years. Seeing because the distillery isn’t but operational, these wheat and high-rye bourbons have been distilled for Kentucky Owl by Bardstown Bourbon Co. The supply of the older whiskeys is high secret.
How does it style although?
Anyway, it’s a really stylish drop for many who love a giant spicy bourbon. The truth is, if I attempted it blind, I’d most likely guess it was a rye whisky. The nostril explodes with ginger, cardamom, and Szechuan pepper, with pretty mature tobacco-esque aromatics. On the palate, it’s very dry and crackles with fragrant depth, and it’s completely balanced at 45.4% ABV.
However don’t take my phrase for it. That is what John Rhea says: “Kentucky Owl the Wiseman is an clever stability of sentimental wheat and spicy high-rye that gives a clean however advanced bourbon designed to drink neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. It leads with a ravishing caramel flavour and aroma adopted by notes of allspice, citrus fruit, and a nudge of oak.”
It’s one I’d most likely drink neat but when I had a complete bottle relatively than a tiny pattern I’d be very curious to attempt it in a Manhattan and a Boulevardier, particularly because it’s much more inexpensive than different Kentucky Owl releases. There’s a full tasting notice under.
So Kentucky Owl Wiseman, it has a complicated and never altogether convincing story, however frankly with bourbon this good, who cares?
Kentucky Owl Wiseman is out there from Grasp of Malt. Click on right here to purchase.
Tasting notice from the Chaps at Grasp of Malt
Nostril: Ginger, cinnamon and cardamom with espresso and woody tobacco notes.
Palate: Massively fragrant with Szechuan pepper, chillies, black pepper and cardamom. The sweetness is basically dialled down with refined toffee notes.
End: Lengthy and aromatic with a menthol notice coming by.