Kentucky Owl Takumi Edition Whiskey Review
journey through a tasting
Exploring a new whiskey is a journey. A journey that will explore all of your senses, beginning with your sight and ending with your sense of touch and taste. First, you will choose a bottle based on the name, the shape of the bottle, how the label captures your attention, or what you have read about the whiskey. Once you’ve picked the bottle up, you’ll notice details about the whiskey, such as the color, proof, blend, or age. If any of those are not what you are looking for, you’ll put the bottle down and move on to the next. Next, you will use your hearing to experience the whiskey you chose—the sound of the wax, foil, or paper around the cork. The anticipation builds up as you take the wrapper off for the satisfying sound of the cork popping out of the bottle and releasing the aromas that were trapped in the bottle. The aroma brings in the first time you use your sense of smell; however, the sound does not end there; while you are taking in the aroma, you will begin pouring the whiskey into your glass and listen to the sound as the liquid hits the glass.
All this time, your sense of sight has been enhancing the experience, but now, this is where your eyes take over as you look closely at the color of the whiskey. Is it a deep amber, a light golden, or somewhere in between? How does it look as you begin swirling the whiskey in your glass? Does the liquid slowly move back down the glass into the bowl? How does it look when you bring the glass to your nose to dive deep into the aromas? It is time to experience what the distiller and blender wanted you to share about their whiskey. This is when you nose the whiskey. Nosing is when you bring the glass to your nose and focus on the aromas. Are you overwhelmed with the ethanol, or can you pick up the base floral, fruity, caramel, or vanilla notes? Are you picking up any other notes, such as black cherry, smoke, woodsy, or oak?
You are now coming to the end of the start of your journey. Now is the time for the sense of taste to join the experience. As you take on your first sip, what do you pick up? How does it feel on your tongue? It is now that we have incorporated all five of our senses on this journey. But it does not end with the first sip. The feeling of the first sip could have given you a burning sensation. Take a second sip and immediately swallow if that is the case. Swirl the spirit in your mouth on your third sip, coating your entire palate. How does it feel? Do you pick up an oily sensation? Are you picking up any notes, such as cinnamon or other cooking spices? What about peaches, apricots, or another style of fruit? What kind of memories does this experience bring to your mind? Focus on those memories, looking for what it is about the journey you started that caused them to come to the forefront.
Your journey does not end here; your journey has just begun. Welcome to the joy of exploring whiskey through a tasting.
Kentucky Owl was created by Charles Mortimer Dedman in 1879 and saw it thrive until the pre-prohibition days in 1916. In 2014, Charles’s great-great-grandson, Dixon Dedman, brought about a whiskey revival when he and two partners brought the Kentucky Owl distillery back to life. Quickly gaining recognition due to the high-quality bourbon being produced, Dixon saw the history his great-great-grandfather created come back to life and a place among bourbon lovers and collectors alike.
Stoli, who bought Kentucky owl in 2017, saw an opportunity to expand the already robust portfolio with limited editions, the first being the Confiscated blend, paying homage to the barrels confiscated just before the prohibition.
The Takumi edition is a creation between the current Master Distiller, John Rhea, and Yahisa Yusuke, a Japanese Whiskey Blender. A blend of 4, 5, 6, and 13-year-old bourbons, picked out by John and blended by Yahisa, brings forth a whiskey with bourbon and Japanese whiskey characteristics. I first tried the Takumi edition from Kentucky Owl when visiting their booth at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival this past October 2022. With over 50 distilleries at the event, this expression quickly became one of my favorites. So much so that I revisited the booth while there on multiple occasions. When the opportunity arose for me to write a review of this blend, I did not hesitate.
Age: a 4-year-old blend of 4, 5, 6, and 13-year-old bourbons.
Release: 2022 Limited
Proof: 50% ABV / 100 proof
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Deep golden – amber with long thin legs
Cheery wood with hints of orange peel
Black cherries, oak, orange citrus, cooking spices, and finishing with black pepper and oaky tannins.
Medium finish with soothing warmth from the pepper and proof—a light creamy mouthfeel with a hint of oils.
In the end, this is one of my favorite expressions I have come across in 2022. With its complex notes in the aroma and palate, I recommend adding the Kentucky Owl Takumi limited edition to your bar for those occasions when you want to celebrate a special occasion.