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Kentucky Owl Rye (Batch 1)

(3.5/5.0) A wonderful rye whiskey that loses considerable appeal when you see the price.




Proof: 110.6 / ABV: 55.3%

Age: 11 years

Distillery: Unknown (sourced)

Mashbill: Unknown (undisclosed)

Retail Pricing: $130 in 2017 up to $230

Availability: Rare. Batch 1 was released at about 7,000 bottles. Batch 2 is currently out and may be easier to find due to the price hike (~$200)


There isn’t much to say here. Dixon Deadman resurrected his family’s former whiskey brand Kentucky Owl and charges a fortune for sourced bottlings from undisclosed distilleries. The bourbons in the Kentucky Owl line regularly fetch between $350 and $800 on the secondary market while the ryes hover around $180 to $250 due to the release quantities being much higher. With such high MSRPs, fanciful packaging, and loads of marketing and hype, this bottle is the trifecta summation of what bourbon is today. Damn I sound bitter…


Sensibles:  The nose is expectedly herbal with dill, mint, and pine sap making up the rye component while the oak imparts a bit of vanilla and whiffs of chocolate, honey, and barrel char. Not really much heat here for being 110 proof. The taste is full and rich and quite bourbon-esque with caramel and vanilla overshadowing some of the usual rye suspects – cinnamon and black licorice. There’s only a slight bit of heat as it transitions towards a medium finish that is full of clove and dill.

Value: This bottle drinks below its proof, making it a bit dangerous on the wallet considering the extreme price tag. Is it worth $130? I mean, there aren’t many high-aged ryes on the market, especially 110 proof. I don’t think I’d pay any more than this and definitely wouldn’t pay the $200 for Batch 2. It’s good, very good. But you can buy 3-5 high quality ryes (Pikesville, E.H. Taylor, High West Rendezvous Rye, etc.) for $200 that will serve you much longer. You should probably grab a drink of this at a bar, but I’d pass on the bottle unless you are absolutely in love with rye whiskey.

Kentucky Owl (Batch 1)
Reviewer 3.5
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