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A New Dawn in the World of Whiskey: Kentucky Owl and the boundless possibilities of whiskey-making.

In the tapestry of whiskey lore, Kentucky Owl emerges as a storied thread, weaving its way through time with resilience and intrigue. Founded in 1879 by Charles Mortimer Dedman, the distillery thrived until Prohibition cast a shadow over its legacy, leaving behind a tale of seized barrels and a mysterious warehouse fire. But from the ashes of history rose a phoenix in the form of Dixon Dedman, Charles' great-great grandson, who sought to revive the family brand with a passion fuelled by generations past.


After years of meticulous craftsmanship, Dixon breathed new life into Kentucky Owl, crafting small-batch bourbons that captured the imagination of connoisseurs worldwide. His dedication caught the eye of the Stoli Group, leading to a partnership that would redefine the brand's trajectory by blending tradition with innovation to create a portfolio of limited-edition releases that captivated the senses.


From the St. Patrick's Edition, a collaboration with Irish whiskey maven Louise McGuane, to the Takumi Edition, born from a partnership with master blender Yusuke Yahisa of Nagahama Distillery in Japan, each release reflected Kentucky Owl's commitment to collaboration and quality. These ventures not only expanded the brand's reach but also introduced bourbon to new audiences, bridging continents and cultures through the universal language of whiskey.


Now, with the dawn of a new era, Kentucky Owl proudly welcomed Maureen Robinson as their new Master Blender in late 2023, heralding a momentous shift in the landscape of whiskey-making.


Robinson's appointment marks a watershed moment for Kentucky Owl, stepping into the shoes previously filled by the esteemed John Rhea, who retired after leaving an indelible mark on the industry. With over four decades of experience under her belt, Robinson brings a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective, honed through her tenure with revered Scotch whisky brands like Johnnie Walker, The Singleton, and Buchanan’s.


Breaking barriers as the first female Master Blender at Kentucky Owl, Robinson emerges as a trailblazer for aspiring women in the whiskey-making world. Her expertise extends beyond Scotch whisky, encompassing a deep understanding of bourbon craftsmanship. Having delved into the intricacies of barrel aging and flavour development through her work with second fill bourbon barrels, Robinson eagerly embraces the opportunity to explore new horizons with first fill bourbon barrels, pushing the boundaries of whiskey innovation.


The culmination of Robinson's expertise and Kentucky Owl's legacy finds its expression in the limited release of the Kentucky Owl Maighstir Edition. Crafted in collaboration with Master Blender John Rhea, Maighstir stands as a testament to the artistry and expertise that defines Kentucky Owl.


Kentucky Owl Maighstir Edition Bourbon: A Whiskey Journey Beyond Borders


Pronounced "may-stir" and aptly named Gaelic for "Master," this limited edition release has been crafted with a meticulous blend of 4, 5, 8, and 9-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbons, sourced from barrels with varying mash bills containing wheat and/or rye, Maighstir offers a four-grain experience unlike any other.


The goal?


To create a whiskey that transcends the boundaries between bourbon and Scotch, offering enthusiasts a journey of discovery with each sip.


From the moment it graces the nose, Maighstir captivates with its enticing aroma of malted barley and caramel, hinting at the complexity that lies within. Yet, this bourbon surprises with its lightness, offering notes of sesame seed and fresh malt that evoke memories of bolder single malts, while subtle hints of peanut shell remind you of its bourbon roots.


On the palate, Maighstir continues to impress, with flavours that dance across the senses. Dominant notes of peanut are complemented by classic vanilla and barrel char elements, giving way to layers of caramel corn and baking spice. Light and airy, yet rich in depth, this whiskey takes you on a journey through gentle spice notes and earthy undertones, culminating in a mild finish reminiscent of sesame cookies with a touch of green underbrush.


But Maighstir is more than just a whiskey—it's a vertiable work of art, embodied in a sleek and sophisticated bottle design that exudes luxury and exclusivity. Each bottle, individually numbered and part of a limited release of just 2,400, is a collector's item in its own right, adorned with the iconic Kentucky Owl emblem against a backdrop of deep blue and intricate gold detailing.


As Kentucky Owl embarks on this new chapter with Maureen Robinson at the helm, the future of whiskey-making glistens with promise. With her unparalleled expertise and unwavering dedication, Robinson is poised to steer Kentucky Owl to new heights of excellence, crafting signature bourbons and rye whiskeys that not only captivate the senses but also inspire generations to come.


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Words and photos by AW.



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