Oh the places you'll go! The samples you'll see! Seriously I have way too many of these and I'm doing the lovely folks who sent me them a disservice for not getting into them more often. So I'm here to try a sample from a swap with a good friend of mine, the host of "Bourbon Night 2021", Eric @ra1nmannn. This is one of many outstanding pours that were generously shared with me. As always, I'm going into my review analytically and the extraneous details of the whiskey go out the window when the liquor hits the glencairn. Let's get into the details!
Company on Label: Kentucky Owl
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed
Age: 10 years
Further identification: Batch No. 4, nicknamed “The Last Rye,” is a blend of rye stocks aged 10-to-13 years
Nose: Wicked syrupy plum, this smells delicious! Slightly floral. Dark brown bread & butter notes all through. Oak is layered in like a misty fog hanging over the glass. Lovely rye grain is toasted and sweet. Light white linens form a thin curtain that can't contain the sweet dark red fruits behind it. Dusty at times and then suddenly bursting forth with citrus sweetness, this is a great nosing experience thus far. Some very faint dark chocolate leads towards a hint of molasses and allspice. Very mellow and smooth around its edges on the nose, you can really dig deep with this glass. After a sip some raw vanilla bean can be found in abundance. Some of the malty characteristics I was picking up on the palate have now come forth on the nose as well. Also an incredibly clear smoky char just lept out of the glass and feels here to stay. That was a wild transition towards that clear, ashy smoke. The end of the glass smells of Battleship Cove metallics, molasses, and black currant. It reminds me of a very wild forest area teaming with green things and berries. It's really a lovely nosing experience from start to finish.
Palate: First sip tingles my lips and refreshes me with a palate that reminds me of the 2019 Thomas H Handy, very clove forward. It settles into a Cabernet sweetness that carries dark red grapes, allspice and a hint of plum. A good bit of oak is available on this palate with the herbal side of the rye profile shining more now. There's a bit of dark malt on the back end of this one too that feels a bit out of place against the other flavors to me. The smoky portion of this glass now returns towards the clove forward profile, but it has been subdued some in intensity. Something like a brown sugar meat marinade can be found now. A larger chew shows off a thin molasses, a toffee forward demerara sugar, zesty orange peel, and dill. A really dark cherry note was found, but suddenly made this drink a touch hot, whew! Mmmm, then suddenly back to the smooth vanilla. This pour can be a bit fickle for sure. My last sip leaves me with a chamomile tea, smooth vanilla, and an eruption of spices that float up through my chest. The finish is medium in length, but quite enjoyable in intensity.
A lovely sample to have, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I will definitely admit the nose surpasses the palate on this one. The clove note is not for the faint of heart, nor the Buffalo-Trace-or-Bust crowd. I think this is a rye drinker's rye for sure. Enjoy it if you've got it, I don't know if I'd be able to get myself a bottle or not at this point.