The Wiseman represents two milestones for Kentucky Owl. The straight bourbon whiskey, which combines Kentucky Owl’s own four-year wheat and high-rye bourbons with five-and-a-half and eight-and-a-half year Kentucky bourbons, is a collaboration with Bardstown Bourbon Company. It’s also the first new release from Kentucky Owl’s new master blender, John Rhea, who formerly served as the CEO of the Four Roses Distillery.
It pours a medium, ruddy bronze in the glass and has a nose dominated by spice but also possessed of vanilla, almonds, creamed corn, and a touch of caramel. The whiskey is medium in body and hot in temperature and starts with sweet, creamed corn that runs into rice pudding and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla at the center. Those sweet, creamy cereal notes meet dark, cooked caramel at the back along with a touch of oak, before crashing straight into a wall of allspice. Following its dry, spiced, and highly aromatic finish, we’re treated to a final note of shaved almonds.
The Wiseman is a real meal of a bourbon with a sweet, meaty center courtesy of all that wheat bourbon, coupled to a kicking spice surge provided by its high-rye bourbon content. I also found that it performed magnificently in cocktails, making a real spice rack of a Manhattan or Old-Fashioned.
— 45.4% ABV