Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Review of Kentucky Owl Bourbon - The Wise Mans Bourbon

 An old Distillery that once flourished back in 1879 located in heart of Kentucky, has recently resurrected.  Kentucky Owl Bourbon Whiskey has made itself known once again.

The history of Kentucky Owl dates back to 1879 in North Mercer County, in a community called Oregon, just off the banks of the Kentucky River.  The bourbon was originally called Kentucky Owl Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey, "The Wise Man's Whiskey."  Created by the late Charles Mortimer Dedman and his son, Thomas Curry Dedman, Sr, they aged and distilled Kentucky bourbon.  The Distillery was in production up to 1916, until the government enacted prohibition and ordered them to cease production of their whiskey.  The remaining barrels were taken then transported to Frankfort and put away in "Government Warehouse".  Soon after the government seized the barrels, and did not allow Dedman to purchase any type of insurance, the government warehouses mysteriously burned to the ground.  

Only until a few years ago when the fifth generation family member, Samuel Dixon Dedman, who currently serves as the Innkeeper of the family business of the Beaumont Inn, ran into a fellow Innkeeper by the name of Mark Carter during a convention being held in Austin, Texas.  As they started sharing stories, they started having discussions of the booming bourbon industry in recent years.  Once they realized they both had a passion for bourbon and Dixon having deep heritage in the whiskey business, they decided to work together and bring his family brand back to life. 

After working together to come up with the right blend, batch 1 was chosen.  Batch 1 comes from five barrels that were hand-picked from a pool of  20 to 25 that Kentucky Owl currently has in its inventory.  These barrels are all short of 8 years old.  The process of making the first batch included choosing five which were dumped at 4 years and then re-barreled in new charred American white oak barrels of differing char levels.  It's then bottled non-chilled filtered at barrel proof of 118.4

S. Dixon told us that they plan to release several more small batches of barrels from the same collection in the future.  The family is also putting away more barrels in hopes to operate their own still in the future.

With such a limited release of around 1,400 bottles, the first batch was only distributed in Kentucky.

Dedman's Tasting note:

“It coats the entire palate with an initial sweetness of caramelized sugar and dark fruit. The mid-palate sensation is of oak with a sweet cedar spice and slight citrus, while the finish is long, peppery and with a sweet dark cherry sensation."

The Four Barrels Notes:

Nose: The nose releases tropical flavors with coconut and an aroma of ripe banana along with creme brulee.

Palate: At first sip, it delivered a dense and viscous mouth feel that had a strong presence of rye and spice at the front.  Surprisingly it followed immediately with a rich soft mouth feel at the finish.  As if it misses the middle of your palate completely.  The finish is long and clearly spent  eight years in oak.  It carries a great thick flavor with intense berry fruits.

Overall Thoughts:

We thought this was a great start to a help revive a once forgotten bourbon.  The whiskey has good character and carried a solid flavor throughout the tasting experience.  We look forward to seeing what else comes from the Owls Nest and hope that more will be produced and the price will be more affordable for a larger group of people to experience what the Kentucky Owl has to offer.     

Batch 1
ABV: 59% 118.4 Proof
Price: $179 - $199

Beaumont Inn

Kentucky Owl Bourbon

* Information above was gathered from the Kentucky Owl website and personal emails from The Four Barrels and Kentucky Owl.