Since March of 1631, people around the world have been honoring St. Patrick. As the celebration has continued, certain traditions have become synonymous with March 17th, and sipping Irish whiskey is at the heart of the celebrations.
To mark the occasion, Kentucky Owl released Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Edition, a 100% Kentucky made bourbon whiskey made through the lens of Irish whiskey making. To craft this limited first edition blended bourbon, Kentucky Owl’s master blender John Rhea collaborated with Louise McGuane, Ireland’s first modern whiskey bonder and founder of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey.
Irish whiskey bonding is a way of blending that was commonplace during the 19th and 20th centuries, when most Irish distilleries produced whiskeys for bonders to age, blend and bottle. When the Irish whiskey industry collapsed in the 1930s, bonding faded away — until McGuane began resurrecting the tradition in 2015.
Rhea and McGuane blind tasted individual cask samples, then again through multiple blending variations. The result features Kentucky straight bourbons aged four to 11 years, with rich caramel notes and vanilla from rare older bourbons, spice and fruit from higher rye bourbons, and sweetness and citrus from wheated bourbons.
“We tasted through the lens of bringing fruit-forward profiles that are desirable to us as Irish whiskey makers, but we also wanted something still representative of the Kentucky Owl style,” McGuane said. “This blend tastes like the Kentucky Owl products whiskey drinkers love, with an echo of big and bold juicy fruit flavors so familiar in Irish whiskey.”
In the nose, the whiskey shows sweet caramel and honey with just enough spice. In the palate, it boasts long notes of caramel , butterscotch, and frosted cinnamon roll, with chocolate orange and into some citrus peel. A bright forest fruit on the mid palate and a long lingering finish with vanilla bean and some balanced wood influence make it ideal to sip straight, but it plays well in celebratory cocktails such as the Gaelic Flip.
1 ¼ oz. Kentucky Owl St. Patrick’s Edition Whiskey
1 oz. sweet vermouth
⅓ oz. simple syrup
1 tsp allspice liqueur
Combine ingredients and dry shake. Finish off with a little nutmeg garnish. Best enjoyed with friends.