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Nose: Scents of freshly baked gingersnap cookies allude to the rye spice within. But in typical Kentucky rye whiskey fashion, it turns sweet like a bourbon the more I smell. Notes of cherry pie filling, candied oranges, grenadine syrup and strawberry cobbler all make this a very fruit-forward nose.
There are floral notes as well but they get pushed to the back by other sweet smells like crème brulee (emphasis on the caramelized sugar on top). For some reason, there is even a hint of smoky ash that seems to pop up from time to time. It’s all very balanced and deep.
Palate: Some Kentucky rye whiskies make it tough to tell if they’re a bourbon or a rye. KY Owl Batch 4 doesn’t seem to have this problem with the sharp rye flavors of cinnamon, gingerbread, mint and tarragon all leading the way. The sweetness of caramel syrup is welcome, but there are still spicy notes of cloves, peppercorns and Red Hots candies that add extra depth.
Honeycomb mixed with cherries and an array of citrus zest (orange/lemon/lime) keep this rye whiskey on a brighter note as the whole palate shows off its incredible depth. My mouth starts to drool at how much more flavorful this would be at cask strength (of note: no KY Owl Rye has been bottled at cask strength).