Kentucky Owl recently released the third installment of its straight rye whiskey, but before we can get to that bottle, we need to catch everyone up on Batch 2. Kentucky Owl’s founder and blender Dixon Dedman set the bar pretty high with the inaugural release of Kentucky Owl rye. Batch 2 clocks in at a lower proof but still carries the same 11 year age statement. It’s a sourced whiskey (like all Kentucky Owl whiskeys to date), and as with the first release, specific production information isn’t known. It’s distilled in Kentucky, so this isn’t the more familiar MGP rye that you often see around this age under various labels. Disappointingly, the price point has crept significantly higher. What’s changed inside the bottle? Let’s find out!
The nose is lighter than Batch 1 with less of the rich oak spices evident. There’s soft sugared pastry, lemon zest, and a smattering of spice cabinet notes: clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon sugar. Muddled mint takes over as it opens up, along with a little ground coffee. On the palate, the mint really dominates at first with bright vegetal notes. There’s a bit of chewy caramel in the mix, along with vanilla bean and candied ginger, but it’s not quite as complex or rich on the delivery as the first release. It is just as balanced, however, and perhaps more so owing to the lower proof which allows each of those notes to be recognized individually. The finish is generous and lingers with peppery rye spice and milk chocolate mints.