Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The November 2022 release of 2XO The Phoenix Blend Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey marks the first in a series of limited small batch offerings crafted by American Master Blender, Dixon Dedman. In addition to his twenty years of experience in the hospitality industry, Dedman’s noteworthy credentials also include Master Blender, Speaker, Author, and Innkeeper of the Beaumont Inn properties in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, which received the highly-coveted James Beard award in 2015.
Before crafting and releasing his new brand of whiskey, Dixon Dedman was a Blender with Kentucky Owl. Kentucky Owl was founded by Dedman’s great-great-grandfather, Charles Mortimer Dedman in 1879. The Kentucky Owl Straight Bourbon Whiskey brand was discontinued when prohibition saw the U.S. government shut down the operation in 1916, seizing 250,000 gallons of Kentucky Owl. In 2014, Dedman and some of his business partners revived the brand. Dedman then started working in established distilleries where he sought to perfect his blending craft. In 2017, Dedman sold his family’s Kentucky Owl brand to the Stoli Group.
2XO stands for Two Times Oak, in reference to Dedman’s “unique” whiskey blending method which entails re-barreling two different Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys that he acquired from different distilling partners and hand-selected himself. While the age statement of the two whiskeys used is unknown, one has a moderate rye content and the other has a very high rye bourbon mash bill. According to the official tasting notes, “on the palate, The Phoenix Blend is viscous with notes of caramel and vanilla on the front, moving to bright ripe red fruit in the middle, and finishing with a mild peppery spice.”
“I named The Phoenix Blend very intentionally,” said Dedman in a prepared statement, “like a new beginning, 2XO aims to create something unique in American whiskey, and every release will strive to achieve something special. The initial response to The Phoenix Blend has been very well received. I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter.”
Dedman was interviewed by The Whiskey Wash in 2016 where his particular whiskey selection and subsequent blending process is detailed as follows, “Dedman doesn’t target a specific flavor profile to match across all batches. Rather, he wants unique profiles that reflect what the rickhouses are giving him every time he goes in to thieve and sample.”
Tasting Notes: 2XO The Phoenix Blend Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Vital Stats: 104 proof (52% ABV), 750 ml bottle MSRP $130.99.
Appearance: Burnt amber.
Nose: Cinnamon spicy forwardness on the nose with a slight lush woody fragrance along with earthy flavors of caramel, cherry, tea, and warm citrus notes.
Palate: Lush floral and fruity character notes that include red berries, spicy plum, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, and peppery notes.