- DISTILLER: Produced by Kentucky Owl from sourced bourbons.
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed
- AGE: Consists of bourbons ranging from 4 to 11 years old
- YEAR: 2022
- PROOF: 100 Proof (50% ABV)
- MSRP: $135
SHARE WITH: Any fan of whiskey. Heck, I’d pour this for new entrants to the segment.
WORTH THE PRICE: This is a delicious bourbon. But $135 is a steep ask in my book given the equally flavorful competition parked at $60. Since my book doesn’t read like many other whiskey hounds’, take my price reluctance for what it’s worth. And since I’ve seen this bourbon pictured in social media for sale at Costco at $95, you might want to hunt for it.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bar to get a chance on deciding whether $135 is worth it. If you do buy it at list, I’m confident at least you’ll like the bourbon.
OVERALL: This bourbon is truly delightful to drink. Too many multi-whiskey blends lack the synergy and symmetry that this bottle presents in spades. Its sibling, Kentucky Owl: The Wiseman Bourbon, released last September, was one of those. On the palate, it felt like every whiskey competed for attention rather than working as a unit. (It makes a good old-fashioned, though.)
Lastly, I recommend reading the press release below just to get an idea of how this came together. Full disclosure: When I first read it, I thought, “Here we go again. Another history story made modern and a mess in the same effort.” I happily admit that I was wrong. I’m now intrigued.
The Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition is a blend of Kentucky Straight Bourbons varying in age from 4 – 11 years old each coming in with their own unique flavor characteristics.
Rich caramel and vanilla from some more rare well-aged Bourbons. Spice and fruit from Bourbons with a higher rye content, and a feel of sweetness and citrus from Wheated Bourbon. All carefully mingled to bring out a robust, well-balanced Bourbon experience.
STOLI GROUP KENTUCKY OWL RELEASES ST. PATRICK’S LIMITED EDITION BOURBON WHISKEY
BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Stoli Group Kentucky Owl is announcing the release of its St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey in celebration of the long-standing ties that connect Irish and Kentucky whiskey making. Known for sourcing scarce and rare aged Kentucky bourbons and blending them to create unique limited-run batches, the Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition features carefully selected barrels of Kentucky bourbon blended through Irish eyes.
For this special release, Kentucky Owl Master Blender John Rhea partnered with Louise McGuane, Ireland’s first modern whiskey bonder and founder of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey. Irish whiskey bonding is a way of blending that was commonplace during the 19th and 20th centuries, when most Irish distilleries produced whiskeys for bonders to age, blend and bottle. When the Irish whiskey industry collapsed in the 1930s, bonding faded away — until McGuane began resurrecting the tradition again in 2015.
Rhea and McGuane blind tasted individual cask samples, then again through multiple blending variations. The result features Kentucky straight bourbons aged 4 to 11 years, with some rich caramel notes and vanilla from rare older bourbons; spice and fruit from higher rye bourbons; and sweetness and citrus from wheated bourbons.
“We tasted through the lens of bringing fruit-forward profiles that are desirable to us as Irish whiskey makers, but we also wanted something still representative of the Kentucky Owl style,” McGuane said. “This blend tastes like the Kentucky Owl products whiskey drinkers love, with an echo of big and bold juicy fruit flavors so familiar in Irish whiskey.”
The nose features notes of sweet caramel and honey, with just enough spice married in to tease the palate. Once sipped, the Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition offers long notes of caramel, butterscotch and frosted cinnamon roll, with hints of chocolate, orange, candy floss and some citrus peel. There’s bright forest fruit on the mid-palate and a longer lingering finish with vanilla pod and balanced wood influence. All carefully mingled to bring out a robust, well-balanced bourbon experience.
The project extends beyond this release, as these chosen Kentucky Owl barrels will be transported to Ireland for McGuane to fill with future releases of Irish whiskey.
“Bringing together Rhea and McGuane, bourbon and whiskey, Kentucky and Ireland has been an absolute honor,” commented Damian McKinney, Global CEO of Stoli Group. “Through the release of St. Patrick’s Bourbon Whiskey, Stoli is pleased to present a rare new blend that marries the best of two amazing worlds.”
This is the second Kentucky Owl release under Rhea, who previously served as Four Roses Distillery’s chief operating officer, where his responsibilities included quality control, maturation, evaluation and product blending. He was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2016 and served as chair of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association board of directors.
Stoli Group, the leading global ultra-premium spirits and wine company, purchased Kentucky Owl in 2017. Originally founded by C.M. Dedman in 1879, the Kentucky Owl Bardstown distillery went dark during the Prohibition era and remained dormant until a descendant revived the brand in 2014. Since then, the company’s small batch releases have sold out quickly and received rave reviews.
The Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey (100 proof/50% ABV, $135 MSRP/750mL), is the latest addition to the Kentucky Owl portfolio, following the release of The Wiseman Bourbon in 2021. The Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition will soon be available through a limited number of fine retailers across the brand’s national distribution footprint.
Disclaimer: Kentucky Owl provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.