What better way to mark 100 years since prohibition than by creating a world-class whiskey. So concluded Dixon Dedman, the master blender at Kentucky Owl, who has created an ultra-rare small-batch bourbon that tastes just as good as your 21st Amendment rights.
Dedman, who also happens to be the great-great-grandson of the founder of Kentucky Owl, spent four to five months perfecting the blend, which is suitably named Dry State. The 38-year-old Kentuckian hand-selected each high-quality barrel to create the tipple with only whiskey aged at least 12 years (and up to 17 years) being considered for the blend. Limited to just 2,000 bottles, Dry State is the distillery’s rarest and longest aged expression to date.
Robb Report sipped alongside the humble-yet-sharp-witted master blender via a Zoom tasting on Thursday evening to get the skinny on what exactly makes this whiskey so special.
“There’s a helluva lot going on here,” Dedman says while sipping his prized creation. “It’s still full-flavored and has complexity, but there’s a subtlety to the blend that was by design. We treated it differently.”
Indeed, the 100 proof bourbon packs a punch like the rest of Kentucky Owl’s bold expressions yet has an elegant, velvety finish. As it plays across your palate, you’re treated to a full range of flavors, from sweet caramels and toffee to bright citrus and spice. Naturally, it’s best enjoyed neat, and we can confirm that it will liven up any Zoom chat.
“I stand behind this blend, I’m really proud of it,” Dedman concludes. “It’s been a helluva journey.”
Of course, you can expect all the fancy packaging that typically comes with a small-batch release, and Dedman has personally signed each one of the 2,000 bottles.
So, how can you get your hands on the sought-after expression? Dry State will be available at select spirit retailers and is priced at $1,000. As an added sweetener, Christie’s will also be auctioning off five bottles at a starting price of $1,920 each for charity. All proceeds will go to the National Restaurant Association’s Employee Advancement Fund, which is dedicated to helping service industry workers who have had their careers stunted due to Covid-19. The auction will take place online from September 17 to October 1.
“Kentucky Owl Dry State’s release during this centennial anniversary of Prohibition is a reflection on our past, but also an opportunity to support the hardworking men and women affected by the closing of bars and restaurants across the country,” adds Dedman.
We’ll raise a glass to that—even if it costs a C-note per pour.