When lightly following The Bourbon Junkies on Youtube, you hear Kentucky Owl mentioned occasionally. Of course, that normally means that there’s something rather available in the USA that will never reach retail markets in Europe, unless you’re willing to shell out through all kinds of ‘investment’ websites.
That sort-of is true for these bottlings too. The ‘Confiscated 1916’ edition is available for prices of around € 125, which isn’t too bad. It’s also rather widely available, which makes ‘price obscurity’ less of a thing. As in, if it was just one shop, they could ask what they want, because you cannot compare prices…
Kentucky Owl ‘The Wise Man’s Bourbon’ is quite a bit more rare in Europe. It’s available, but since it’s a bottling for the American market, prices have soared and this will set you back more than € 300. All availability is through ‘hard to find’ and ‘exclusive’ whisky shops. No surprise there.
Let’s just see where these bottlings sit, in regards to taste, then!
Kentucky Owl ‘Confiscated 1916’, 48.2%
There’s a sweetness of corn spirit matured in fresh oak. Cigars, autumn leaves, some dried fruits like peach and dates. A whiff of wood smoke too. Dark cherries, with quite some dryness too.
Bitter orange at first, with quite some peppery heat. Lots of oak, dark chocolate, dark cherries, peach. The autumnal notes of fallen leaves is there too, and there’s a not of dark rye bread.
The finish brings some more typical bourbon sweetness with lots of oak and barbecued apple. Brown sugar, cherry pie and tree bark.
Well, upon tasting this blind I would have guess this was a higher ABV, but all in all I find this is a very appealing bourbon. It’s quite complex and brings loads of different flavors to bear, without feeling unbalanced.
Kentucky Owl ‘The Wise Man’s Bourbon’, Batch 8, 60.5%
Very stereotype on the nose, with lots of oak, lots of dry corn flour. Baking spices with a focus on a red cinnamon heat, and some dry ginger. Some cigars or even vanilla pipe tobacco.
The palate, when tried after some other cask strength whiskies, arrives deceptively gentle. After a few seconds, though, it starts kicking and screaming. It’s dry, it’s hot, it’s peppery. There’s chili peppers, red cinnamon, lots of fresh oak. Some corn flour, some red fruits in the background, with cherry stones, cigars and vanilla.
The finish, again, starts deceptively gentle after you’ve worked your way through the palate. However, as before, the heat does come back. Not for too long though. The finish shows some heat with a hint of chocolate milk.
It’s very hot but there’s a lot of flavor to counteract that. However, behind that it’s a ‘very good bourbon’. In my book that makes it very drinkable, but not overly rememberable.