Kentucky Owl’s First Release Under John Rhea Is Hitting Shelves Soon

Kentucky Owl The Wiseman's Bourbon. Courtesy Photo.

Kentucky Owl has announced The Wiseman Bourbon, a blend of Kentucky Straight Bourbon that marks their first release under new Master Blender John Rhea.

In another first for the brand, the new blend will contain the brand’s own bourbon distilled in collaboration with Bardstown Bourbon Company. The new expression will be a marriage of Kentucky Owl 4-year-old wheat and high-rye bourbons distilled with BBCo, along with 5 ½-year and 8 ½-year-old Kentucky-sourced bourbons, bottled at 90.8 proof.

“The Wiseman Bourbon is an artful balance of soft wheat and spicy high-rye that provides a smooth but complex bourbon designed to drink neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail,” said Rhea. “The product leads with a beautiful caramel flavor and aroma followed by notes of allspice, citrus fruit and a nudge of oak.”   

Rhea took the blending reins for the brand in June of 2021 from Dixon Dedman, the great great grandson of Charles Dedman, who first founded the brand in 1879. Although the brand died out in years leading up to Prohibition, Dixon reintroduced the label in 2014 as a barrel strength, boutique small batch bourbon. Stoli purchased the brand in 2017, and has since begun construction on a Kentucky Owl bourbon park in Bardstown, Kentucky.

“The Wiseman is the beginning of the next chapter for Kentucky Owl and Stoli Group,” said Damian McKinney, Global CEO of Stoli Group. “As a family of exceptional brands, we are continuing to evolve, innovate and grow across all segments of the spirits market.”

This will be the brand’s most affordable bottle yet at a suggested retail price of around $60, with bottles appearing later this year. In contrast, their limited edition barrel strength batches can retail at around five times that, while The Wiseman Bourbon seems to be the new daily drinker from the brand.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.