Stoli® Group is announcing two new whiskey releases in time for the holidays — Kentucky Owl® Batch #12 and Kentucky Owl® Mardi Gras XO Cask Limited Edition.
Batch #12 continues the legacy started in 2014 with Batch #1, the first Kentucky Owl® bourbon released since Prohibition. Batch #12 is the latest limited batch release iteration carefully crafted by Master Blender John Rhea. These highly sought after, artfully blended, craft bourbons have become an instant sensation. Every Batch product has sold out almost solely by word of mouth.
For Batch #12, Rhea blended very particular well aged, bold bourbons: 7- to 14-year-old bourbons are blended with two different 4-year-old bourbons to create this unique blend. The nose has sweet spice and caramel notes, with a hint of butterscotch and a long bouquet pleasant aroma. The taste is a pleasant rush of warm spice with a robust caramel and cream sensation that melts into hints of passion fruit and spicy citrus. The finish is long and pleasant, with the caramel and cream lingering. Batch #12 is bottled at 115.8 proof (57.9% ABV) with a suggested retail price of $400.
The Kentucky Owl® Mardi Gras XO Cask Limited Edition is an extremely small release created thanks to Stoli Group’s diverse portfolio. Beginning with a Kentucky Owl® 11-year-old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, the product was then finished for over one year in Bayou Rum XO Casks. Created in celebration of the spirit of Mardi Gras and the pride of Louisiana, the rare Bayou XO Casks create a unique whiskey. The Mardi Gras edition is bottled at 102.8 proof (51.4% ABV) with a suggested retail price of $500.
As barrels rolled in from Kentucky one muggy, misty March morning, Bayou Rum Master Blender Reiniel Vicente Diaz thought to himself, “there’s a lot of good times rolling around in these barrels.” The thought was reminiscent of the Mardi Gras mantra, “laissez les bons temps rouler” — let the good times roll — and in that moment the flash of inspiration came to pour this beautiful rich rye liquor into 38 very special, freshly emptied, Bayou Rum XO Mardi Gras ultra-premium rum casks.
Diaz knew the humidity of the unique Louisiana climate worked wonders on his own Bayou rum and was curious how it would shape the rich Kentucky rye. He knew filling the barrels in March would give the whiskey a good long, hot, humid summer to extract lots of lovely flavor, and he was patient enough to wait a further year and another sizzling summer before allowing the rest of the world enjoy this unique expression.
On the nose, Kentucky Owl® Mardi Gras XO Cask Limited Edition greets drinkers with robust toasted rye bread notes, smothered in farm fresh sweet butter, with hints of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. The mouthfeel begins with a robust, flavorful Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, followed by a flurry of sweet butter whipped with allspice. The finish is smooth, with the sweet softness of butter and allspice giving way to a long and warming nutmeg coda.
These are the latest Kentucky Owl® releases under Rhea, who 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. Rhea also blended award-winning Kentucky Owl® The Wiseman Straight Bourbon (San Francisco World Spirits Double Gold) and Kentucky Owl® The Wiseman Straight Rye (San Francisco World Spirits Gold), as well as collaborated with Irish & Japanese master blenders to create two new international collaborations, Kentucky Owl® St. Patrick’s and Takumi Editions.
Stoli® Group, the leading global ultra-premium spirits and wine company, purchased Kentucky Owl® in 2017. Originally founded by C.M. Dedman in 1879, the Kentucky Owl® Bardstown distillery went dark during the Prohibition era and remained dormant until a descendant revived the brand in 2014. Since then, the company’s small batch releases have sold out quickly and received rave reviews.