Ky Owl Grows Wings This Year!

Being in California, I’m one of many that became ecstatic amidst the announcement of Kentucky Owl Rye batch #1 hitting stores in states outside of Kentucky, California being one of them along with 25 others. Not to mention the newest Batch #7 of KY Owl Bourbon is closely following behind this release, also to California retailers! Score!

For years, Kentucky Owl was exclusively releasing their godly bourbon nectar to local Kentucky stores. Until last year, Kentucky Owl was acquired by Stoli Group USA, parent company S.P.I. Group. Initially this made me nervous seeing as this is the first whiskey related brand for S.P.I. Group after its +300 other non-whiskey brands. On top of that, Stoli group is best known for flavored vodka, not a “super-premium bourbon” as their press release describes Kentucky Owl. With that said, I figured if they at least kept Master Blender, Dixon Dedman in full control of the product and have Stoli purely handle the ramp up in production it’d be okay. Now that the whiskey is bottled there’s only one thing that still makes me nervous… this lil “11 year” situation. Where the hell did S.P.I and Stoli find 11 year old straight rye whiskey barrels to blend into this release? They don’t disclose the source and we know it’s not MGP. Some say it’s from Beam, however I have a crazy weird feeling it could possible be secret rye whiskey held at Four Roses. Call me crazy, but the signature flavor of Four Roses is present in this Kentucky Owl release. We’ll leave it to you to speculate, or just sit back and enjoy.

Released this September 2017, the Kentucky Owl 11yr Rye Batch #1 is bottled at 55.3%v ABV, 110.6 proof. For this review I will be tasting the whiskey with and without a few drops of water in a Glencairin glass.

Tasting Notes: Kentucky Owl 11yr Rye Batch #1

Contents: 55.3% ABV // 110.6 proof // Rye whiskey // Small Batch // 11 years old

Bottled: 07/2017

MSRP: $129.99 for a 750ml bottle

Appearance: Dark red apple

Nose: Raw honey comb as you hover your nose over the glass. There is mild rye spice and more of the barrel’s oaky characteristics. Letting it open for approximately 10 minutes reveals some sweet mint, cloves and more oak.

Palate: Lots of clove and barrel char first thing hitting the tongue. Following is sweet cherry and peach with more honey and cinnamon spice towards the back again. Again, very mild rye spice.

Finish: Soft and lingering. Sweet cinnamon sugar spice after-taste.


Rye lovers will truly enjoy this one, and on-the-fencers will appreciate the mild rye spice. It actually has a lot of sweetness when pulling back the layer of clove. It strangely has a distinct similarity to some of the high rye expressions from Four Roses. Once you get passed the sting of the price tag, the sting of the whiskey will make it all better. The balance of this bottle is really what makes it wonderful. Once you notice the cloves you quickly switch to noticing the sweeter tones, then back to the herbals. I really enjoy bottles like these. Complex and well done. I wish they would be a bit more transparent with their process and sources, but hey we’ll get there. The answers always come out eventually. My only criticism on the overall execution of this release would be the price. I think Stoli/S.P.I. Group is trying to take advantage of the accelerated popularity of Kentucky Owl and bourbon boom in general by defining this release as “super premium” offering. I hate to complain too much though because it is simply wonderful juice and of course, business is business, but give us drinkers a break! My wallet can’t take this abuse.


Good or bad? Very delicious pour. GOOD!

Worth buying again? The price tag is kind of scary, but I would definitely buy another bottle if I was feeling bourbon rich.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was purchased by Superfly Bourbon Club. In no way, does acquiring the bottle in any form manipulate the direction of this review.

About Kentucky Owl

Kentucky Owl Bourbon was founded in 1879 by C.M. Dedman and today is led by Master Blender, Dixon Dedman, who released his first batch in 2014, nearly 100 years after prohibition ended his great-great-grandfather’s original endeavor. It is an artfully blended line of craft bourbons and, now, a rye whiskey, with each batch bottled at barrel proof for the truest expression of whiskey at its best. Kentucky Owl is for those who appreciate high quality, attention to detail, craftsmanship, and authentic heritage.

SOURCE Kentucky Owl, LLC

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Michael Inglima

Michael Inglima

Michael Inglima is a full time Graphic Designer, amateur writer and Creative Director of Superfly Bourbon Club. He has been a long-time bourbon enthusiast and advocate based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His number one goal in the bourbon universe is to educate new-comers and develop a unique brand of like-minded individuals.

View all posts by Michael Inglima

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