Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons
Company: Stoli Group
Release Date: February 2022
Age: NAS (Company states its a blend of 4-11 year old bourbons)
Color: Golden Hay
MSRP: $135 (2022)
Confectioner’s sugar | Light caramel | Candy corn | Butter | Wheat bread | Mild vanilla | Touch of raspberry
Orange marmalade | Vanilla custard | Caramel streusel | Fruit cup | Fruity & sweet
Orange | Rye spice | Lemon zest | Mild oak | Spicy with a touch of pear
St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. is usually seen (by 99% of people I’m guessing) as a drinking holiday. Irish whisky in turn is typically associated with the holiday for obvious reasons. Bourbon is likely consumed in large amounts on St. Patrick’s Day, though it isn’t usually associated with it, which makes Kentucky Owl Bourbon St. Patrick’s Edition an interesting, albeit unusual release hoping to capitalize on the holiday.
As someone who was let down by Kentuck Owl’s recent The Wiseman Bourbon, but continually impressed by their batched bourbon releases, I was interested in where this limited release would fall. This collaboration between Kentucky Owl Master Blender John Rhea and Louise McGuane, “Ireland’s first modern whiskey bonder and founder of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey,” manages to get more right than it gets wrong.
Going for drinkability first and foremost, it does this with a flavor profile that offers balance with just enough complexity. It starts with an approachable nose that offers moments of interest though it doesn’t necessarily impress. The palate transitions to a fruit-forward and sweet trio of orange marmalade, vanilla custard, and caramel streusel that is approachable yet lacks overall potency. The finish continues with a welcomed contrast of spice and mild heat, but again puts drinkable and overall smoothness front and center.
This unusual collaboration does well to blend the two worlds of Irish whisky and bourbon. It makes marketing sense to release this in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day, but it might be shortchanging it to a degree. It’s unclear if this is a one time release, and its price point seems high for someone looking for an impulse holiday dram. Thankfully this whiskey turned out to be more than a mere cash-in on the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, and brings something worthwhile to the glass.