In 1916, some 250,000 gallons of Kentucky Owl whiskey were confiscated by federal agents. More than a century later, the Kentucky Owl brand, revived five years ago by one Dixon Dedman, is putting out its first nationwide release, Confiscated. Bourbon nerds crawling /r/bourbon aren’t happy about it.
The first strike against Confiscated? A $125 retail price, which is right up there with the most coveted bourbons in the world (for example, Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection bottles retail for less). Of course, whiskey enthusiasts are used to ponying up for high-end bourbon, but the real problem is a dearth of transparency: the label lacks an age statement and doesn’t provide any sourcing information.
Other than its posted 96 proof, effectively nothing is known about the juice inside beyond some long-winded tasting notes provided by a press release: “… notes of floral gardenia and honeysuckle, along with grape, red apple, orange cuties, wet banana bread and toasty sourdough bread crust on the nose. The taste is reminiscent of graham crackers, toffee, muted sweet cinnamon spice, and fresh-squeezed orange juice balanced with white grapes and finishing with a hint of cayenne.”
To its credit, Kentucky Owl has quickly become one of the most coveted new names in bourbon. In its five years on liquor store shelves, the brand earned high scores from Whisky Advocate and even won a Garden & Gun Made in the South Award. Just like hard-to-find sneakers, nearly every bottle resells for two-, three- and four-times that, and it should be interesting to see what effect the increased availability will have.
Kentucky Owl Confiscated is available in all 50 states now.