Kentucky Owl Unveils Takumi Edition Bourbon

Kentucky Owl Takumi Edition Bourbon Whiskey Nagahama  japanese distillery collab collaboration blend blender tasting notes flavor review
Kentucky Owl Takumi Edition Bourbon Whiskey.

The Stoli Group brand Kentucky Owl has announced the release of its new Takumi Edition Bourbon Whiskey.

A collaboration between master blenders John Rhea of Kentucky Owl and Yusuke Yahisa of Nagahama Distillery, this latest limited edition showcases Kentucky bourbon through the eyes of Japanese whisky, the company says. “Takumi” means “master” in Japanese.

Rhea selected four different formulations and sent the samples to Japan. Yahisa evaluated those samples, which represented different ages and mash bills available from Kentucky Owl. Yahisa then created different blends with those formulations to develop one most reflective of his Japanese whisky style, the company says.


“This collaboration encompasses not just the art of blending, but the flavors and taste profiles that both countries are famous for in their whiskeys,” says Rhea. “The Takumi Edition provides bourbon lovers insight into the flavor profiles sought after by a Japanese whisky blender. As someone who has worked in the industry for several decades now, it was exciting for me to work with a rising star in whisky with a unique perspective.” 

The Takumi Edition Bourbon is a blend of 4-, 5-, 6- and 13-year-old Kentucky straight bourbons, with mash bills containing corn, rye or wheat, and malted barley.  


The nose features a mix of light rye bread with caramel richness and a hint of tangy fruit salad, the company reports. On the palate, there is an initial wave of buttery rye bread with a full-bodied feel. The mix of rye and caramel combine into a cinnamon and caramel sauce, with a bit of fruitiness — mostly apple and pear.

Kentucky Owl Takumi Edition Bourbon Whiskey is 100 proof. The suggested retail price is $150 per 750-ml. bottle. It’s available beginning in October through retailers across the brand’s national distribution footprint.

This is the fourth 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. 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.

Started in 2016, Nagahama Distillery is located on the shores of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, and produces single malt whisky.

This new expression follows the March release of Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Limited Edition Bourbon Whiskey.


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