The story of the Kentucky Owl dates back to 1879 in north Mercer County, Kentucky. The original distillery was started by C.M. Dedman, an orphan who was adopted by a judge that gifted Dedman the distillery as a wedding present. Dedman operated the distillery until 1916 when the government shut down the operation and confiscated around 250,000 gallons of bourbon aging at the time. Sometime in 1919, after the passing of the Volstead Act, a mysterious fire destroyed the warehouse. It is speculated that the fire burned only bright enough to make the warehouse unusable and that a great deal of the bourbon made it out unscathed before the fire was set: It is thought that the bourbon made it into the hands of those that would sell it in speakeasies across the country. T.C. Dedman, the son of C.M. would fight tooth and nail to receive compensation for the loss, but never saw a dime. Despite insurmountable odds, the family came into ownership of the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY, which is run by the Dedmans to this day.
Fast forward five generations, and the Inn is now operated by Dixon Dedman, whose hands-on approach to the management of the Inn speaks volumes of doing things “the proper way” (Beaumont Inn). Several years ago, Dixon met Mark Carter, fellow innkeeper and proprietor of Carter Cellars in Napa Valley, California (Carter Cellars). After long discussions (and a few drinks), plans to bring back the Kentucky Owl, “the Wise Man’s Bourbon,” started taking shape. Dixon and Mark wanted to make sure that this first batch was done correctly and in a way that would pay tribute to the many generations that came before them. With that philosophy in mind, they decided that their bourbon would come in at barrel proof and be uncut/unfiltered. – thebourbonguys.com
Tasted: Multiple times, both neat and with water in a glencairn glass
I was lucky enough to score a taste of the upcoming Kentucky Owl Batch #7 that is projected to be released in late August. This batch consists of 15 different barrels. Dixon used 11 barrels that were 13 years old, and 4 barrels that were 9 years old and double barreled for 2 years to create this blend of 2,534 total bottles. That is close to 1,000 more bottles released for Batch #7 compared to Batch #6 last year. Kentucky Owl retails for around $165 and is only sold in Kentucky.
Nose: Oh, she is a spicy little girl! A lot of rye and baked cinnamon that provides a drying sensation. I also get some green apple, toffee, and the scent of freshly mowed wet grass.
Palate: Like the nose, loads of cinnamon and rye are first presented on the palate. Followed by toffee and black pepper that provides some slight dryness. I also get apple. Reminds me of a freshly baked apple pie with loads of cinnamon. I think this bottle definitely improves with water.
Finish: Long! Cinnamon commands the finish with some brown sugar, apple, and rose petal.
Grade: 83 – 86 (B) = Good, Not a “must”, but a nice-to-own bottle
Kentucky Owl Batch #7 wasn’t a home run for me like batch #6. In comparing my tasting notes from Batch #6 to Batch #7 there are actually pretty similar. Although, I feel like batch #6 was the rounder, better integrated, and richer (great mouthfeel) pour. Cheers!
Tags: Kentucky Owl Bourbon