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Kentucky Owl jumped into 2021 with a little bit of an odd holiday-themed launch, Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Version. Earlier than you get too befuddled about being persuaded to substitute a Kentucky bourbon for the Irish whiskey sometimes used to have a good time the event, enable Kentucky Owl to elucidate:
For this particular launch, Kentucky Owl Grasp Blender John Rhea partnered with Louise McGuane, Eire’s first fashionable whiskey bonder and founding father of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey. Irish whiskey bonding is a means of mixing that was commonplace throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when most Irish distilleries produced whiskeys for bonders to age, mix and bottle. When the Irish whiskey trade collapsed within the Nineteen Thirties, bonding pale away — till McGuane started resurrecting the custom once more in 2015.
Rhea and McGuane blind tasted particular person cask samples, then once more by way of a number of mixing variations. The consequence options Kentucky straight bourbons aged 4 to 11 years, with some wealthy caramel notes and vanilla from uncommon older bourbons; spice and fruit from greater rye bourbons; and sweetness and citrus from wheated bourbons.
In keeping with McGuane, the objective of the mix was to residence in on the fruit-forward profile sought by Irish whiskey makers whereas nonetheless sustaining one thing consultant of the Kentucky Owl model. That each one sounds effectively and good, however the urged retail value on this one units the bar fairly excessive, particularly given the unspecified quantity of youthful whiskey within the combine. Jameson is a considerably cheaper technique to have a good time the upcoming vacation. Let’s see if this bottle is definitely worth the splurge.
There’s a stunning quantity of preliminary similarity between this aroma and the nostril on Kentucky Owl’s late 2021 launch, Wiseman. That’s not fully stunning, as that one was additionally a mixture of wheat and rye bourbons (sourced and in-house), though not as outdated. Issues kick off with youthful notes of creamed corn and golden butterscotch candies earlier than evolving into baked apples, lemon oil, and a few toasted sesame. The oak is delicately built-in, with a contact of milk chocolate and barrel char. The palate is sizeable and oily with apple pie filling, heavy on the butter and recent cinnamon.
As the warmth builds into the mid-palate (at occasions hotter than the proof suggests), these daring fruit flavors start to decrease, dulled by sharp oak notes and easy syrup. The end is beneficiant and sees a few of that orchard fruit return, however issues stay a bit out of steadiness as they coast to a conclusion of inexperienced apples, orange candies, and peppery baking spice. It’s a fruitier expression of Kentucky Owl to make certain, however whether or not it deserves St. Patrick’s blessing or a spot in your bar, I’ll depart that as much as you.
B+ / $135 / kentuckyowlbourbon.com