The Stoli Group brand Kentucky Owl has announced the release of its St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon.
Known for sourcing Kentucky bourbons and blending them to create limited-run batches, the Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition again features selected barrels of Kentucky bourbon.
For this release, Kentucky Owl Master Blender John Rhea partnered with Louise McGuane, Irish 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 many 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 helped resurrect 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 caramel notes and vanilla from older bourbons, the company reports, plus spice and fruit from higher-rye bourbons and sweetness and citrus from wheated bourbons.
“We tasted through the lens of bringing fruit-forward profiles that are desirable to us as Irish whiskey makers, but we also wanted something still representative of the Kentucky Owl style,” McGuane says. “This blend tastes like the Kentucky Owl products whiskey drinkers love, with an echo of big and bold juicy fruit flavors so familiar in Irish whiskey.”
The nose features notes of sweet caramel and honey, the company says, with spice as well. Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition also offers flavors of caramel, butterscotch and frosted cinnamon roll, the company reports, with hints of chocolate, orange, candy floss and some citrus peel. There’s forest fruit on the mid-palate and a finish with vanilla pod and balanced wood influence
The project extends beyond this release. The Kentucky Owl barrels will travel to Ireland for McGuane to fill with future releases of Irish whiskey.
“Bringing together Rhea and McGuane, bourbon and whiskey, Kentucky and Ireland has been an absolute honor,” says Damian McKinney, global CEO of Stoli Group. “Through the release of St. Patrick’s Bourbon Whiskey, Stoli is pleased to present a rare new blend that marries the best of two amazing worlds.”
The Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey is 100 proof. The suggested retail price is $135 per 750-ml. bottle. It launches through a limited number of retailers across the brand’s national distribution footprint.
This is the second Kentucky Owl release 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.
Stoli Group purchased Kentucky Owl in 2017.
This follows the release in fall 2021 of Kentucky Owl The Wiseman Bourbon.