Stoli® Group is proud to announce the launch of ultra-premium whiskey brand, Kentucky Owl®, in Singapore. Kentucky Owl® is the world’s most international forward-thinking American whiskey from Bardstown, Kentucky, the bourbon capital of the world.
Rejuvenated in 2014 by the great great-grandson of Charles Dedman who started the original Kentucky Owl Bourbon Distillery in 1879 on the banks of the Kentucky River, Kentucky Owl® now produces award winning, high quality whiskeys designed to demonstrate the different aspects of the whiskey maker’s craft and wisdom. Embodied by a restless spirit and unquenching thirst for knowledge and guided by the wise owl, Kentucky Owl® embraces innovation and excellence in the world of whiskey making.
From Prohibition to Missing Stocks – Kentucky Owl®’s Long and Interesting History
For decades, Charles produced “the wise man’s bourbon” before the distillery closed in 1916 and his death in 1918. During Prohibition in the 1920s, all remaining stocks of Kentucky Owl® whiskey were put on barges to Frankfort and housed in government warehouses. The government guaranteed safe storage, but when the warehouse mysteriously burned down in 1923, the government failed to pay compensation, rendering the entire stock – close to 250,000 gallons of Kentucky Owl® bourbon – a total loss. Rumour has it that before the fire started, the whiskey had already been appropriated by illicit traders including Al Capone for his Chicago “speakeasies”. Due to this significant loss, the Dedman estate never distilled another drop of Kentucky Owl® whiskey.
Growing up in his family’s Beaumont Inn in Kentucky, Dixon Dedman heard the story of his great great- grandfather’s rise and fall in the Bourbon business many times. His dream was to one day bring Kentucky Owl® back to life. He began to look into hand selecting and blending barrels to create a new, small batch of Kentucky Owl®. With no specific taste in mind, Dixon would take samples from each barrel and combine them in different ways. In 2014, Kentucky Owl® was reborn with the release of Batch 1, which took 6 years to create. It was made from some of the finest Bourbon in Kentucky and bottled at barrel proof, uncut and unfiltered which fast became a cult sensation.
In 2017, Kentucky Owl® was bought by the Stoli® Group to be its flagship ultra-premium whiskey. In 2021, John Rhea – a 40-yr industry veteran and Bourbon Hall of Famer – came out of retirement only to join Kentucky Owl® as Master Blender. Using his wealthy experience and wisdom, John has helped launch Kentucky Owl® The Wiseman Bourbon and Rye whiskeys that have recently won Double Gold and Gold at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Preview images of Kentucky Owl® Park Distillery
The upcoming new Kentucky Owl® Park Distillery to be opened in 2026 in Bardstown, USA, will be the most innovative, unique and modern bourbon distillery in the United States; it will also be the most advanced distillery and brand home of any brand in the world, let alone Bourbon whiskey. Designed by world famous, Pritzker Architecture Prize¹-winning Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban² to create a more sustainable design that blends with the natural landscape, the distillery’s 3-pyramids design set in a stunning natural environment with 2 lakes and woodland nods to the industry and its history, while prioritising light and a connection to nature.
Singapore Launch – Kentucky Owl®’s 4 Best Sellers To Date
The Singapore launch will showcase Kentucky Owl® Bourbon Batch 11, from the brand’s annual signature, barrel proof whiskey series that rose Kentucky Owl® to fame. Kentucky Owl® is known for sourcing scarce and rare aged Kentucky bourbons and blending them to create unique limited run batches. With one limited quantity batch produced each year for the global market, once sold and no longer available, each batch is eagerly anticipated by collectors worldwide. Boasting notes of bright citrus, velvety dark chocolate and sticky toffee, Batch 11 offers a welcome mélange of mature oak, allspice, honeyed bread, and deep cinnamon palette with a toasted oak, sultana, peppercorn, and fresh thyme long finish. Batch 11 was launched in 2011 in the United States.
Also, to be launched is Kentucky Owl® The Wiseman™ Bourbon, the first Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey produced and distilled by Kentucky Owl® in collaboration with the Bardstown Bourbon Company, both located in The Bourbon Capital of the World – Bardstown, Kentucky. Launched in September 2021 in the United States, the product is a blend of Kentucky Owl® 4-year-old wheat and high-rye bourbons, along with 5 ½-year and 8 ½-year-old Kentucky-sourced bourbons. An artful balance of soft wheat and spicy high-rye that provides a smooth but complex bourbon designed to drink neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, the whiskey leads with a beautiful caramel flavor and aroma followed by notes of allspice, citrus fruit and a nudge of oak. This is the first Kentucky Owl® release under Master Distiller Rhea. Rhea 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.
Kentucky Owl® The Wiseman™ Rye is a new straight rye whiskey and the second release in The Wiseman™ series also to be featured in the Singapore launch. Launched in April 2022 in the United States, it is listed among Whisky Advocate’s Top 20 and Bourbon Review’s Top 10 whiskeys of the year. This blend features a 95% rye mash bill selected by Rhea and bottled at 100.8 proof. Providing a rich and spicy nose with hints of fresh rye bread and slight hints of sweet caramel and cinnamon, this whiskey’s spicy character instantly fills the mouth with rich rye flavour with a long finish that starts as fresh rye bread, slowly moves towards buttered cinnamon toast and ends with a hint of English walnut.
Completing the Singapore launch line up is Rhea’s third whiskey with the distillery – Kentucky Owl® St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey. Launched February 2022 in the United States, it is a celebration of the long-standing ties that connect Irish and Kentucky whiskey making and features carefully selected barrels of Kentucky bourbon blended through Irish eyes. For this special release, 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 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. The nose features notes of sweet caramel and honey, with just enough spice married in to tease the palate. Once sipped, this limited edition offers long notes of caramel, butterscotch and frosted cinnamon roll, with hints of chocolate, orange, candy floss and some citrus peel. There is 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.
Kentucky Owl® will be available at dining and drinking establishments island-wide from November 2022. For more information, please visit www.kentuckyowlbourbon.com.
Images: Kentucky Owl