Review: Kentucky Owl Rye Whiskey (Batch 2)

Shortly after receiving a lot of generally positive buzz from its initial offering of rye whiskey, Kentucky Owl has released batch two. The sourced whiskey, a Kentucky straight rye, is 11 years old and bottled at 101.8 proof, or 50.9% ABV. The company does not disclose which distillery (or distilleries) the whiskey came from. A bottle of this batch of Kentucky Owl should cost you about $200.

I do love a nicely aged rye whiskey, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The nose features hints of toasted rye grain, toffee, cherry and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Those notes carry over onto the palate. Juicy red cherries and toffee kick things off, developing into a melange of baking spices. The very notable rye grain character is ever present. Things start to become a touch dry on the back palate, with hints of leather and oak being added to the mix. The long finish is dry, warming, and a bit spicy.

All in all, Kentucky Owl rye whiskey batch two is a wonderful example of a well-aged rye whiskey, a category that doesn’t include many entries these days. My only concern is the whiskey’s suggested price of $200. It’s a big increase in price from batch one.

Keep in mind that, while price does not influence the score, it’s hard to justify a purchase at that price. I paid $135 for my bottle, which is well below the suggested retail price and much, much lower than the secondary market price. I know older rye whiskies are hard to come by these days, and people are happy to pay for them. Just good old capitalism at work, I suppose. As for me, it’s a hard pass at $200. But at the $135 price I paid, I’d happily purchase another.


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