Whiskey Review: 2XO The Innkeeper’s Blend Kentucky Straight Bourbon

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.

Dixon Dedman was somewhat of a whiskey wunderkind at Kentucky Owl, an old family label he resuscitated in 2014 after nearly a century, sold in 2017 to Stoli Group and then left in 2021. Not even 40 years old when he walked away from Kentucky Owl, Dedman suddenly found himself with a lot of new opportunities in the whiskey world.

Eventually, the right opportunity came from Prestige Beverage Group, which had thousands of barrels of Kentucky whiskey aging in warehouses but no firm plans about what to do with it. Dedman has some ideas, and was soon named master blender.

The 2XO label that was born of that partnership means two times the oak – based on Dedman’s idea that he would take at least some of the PBG whiskey, put it into new oak a second time and finish it in creative new ways. The Phoenix Blend was 2XO’s inaugural release, in December, followed by The Innkeeper’s Blend this spring. Both are part of what Dedman is calling 2XO’s Icon Series, intended to highlight small batches with distinctive mash bills.

A pair of Kentucky straight bourbons are blended into The Innkeeper’s Blend, each with a proprietary mash bill from a different distilling partners. One is a high-rye (35%) bourbon and the other a low-rye (16-18%) bourbon.

Dedman said he took part of the six-year-old high-rye bourbon, split it into two additional batches, aged one for at least six more months in a new barrel with #3 char and the other for at least six more months in #4 char. Ultimately, then, he had four whiskeys to blend into the final release — the original high-rye bourbon, the low-rye bourbon, and the two newly finished high-rye bourbon batches.

2XO The Innkeeper's Blend review

We review 2XO The Innkeeper’s Blend, the latest whiskey from master blender Dixon Dedman, formerly of Kentucky Owl fame. (image via Prestige Beverage Group)

Tasting notes: 2XO The Innkeeper’s Blend Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Vital Stats: Blend of four batches of Kentucky straight bourbon, aged at least six years; 104 proof/52% alcohol by volume; SRP of $99.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: Dark amber, tending toward brown.

Nose: Banana bread and cotton candy, frosted flakes over whole milk, brown sugar, cherries, and molasses.

Palate: Whereas the nose was sweet and balanced, it comes on fairly strong in the mouth; not what I could call balanced. But the flavors are enjoyable. It’s spicy up front, followed by caramel and chocolate. There’s a dark, rich mouthfeel to it, almost as if you could chew it. I get toffy, dark chocolate, and walnuts. The finish lingers at the back of the tongue, spicy again.

Whiskey Review: 2XO The Innkeeper’s Blend Kentucky Straight Bourbon


Dedman has said that a third release is coming in the Icon Series, called The Tribute Blend. That will be followed by a new series, the Gem of Kentucky bourbons. Each is supposed to be distinctive in its own right, but as consumers it’s helpful for us to decide what the 2XO brand stands for and if we should buy the new releases if and when we see them.

We have a sample size of two so far. My colleague Jennifer Williams raved about The Phoenix Blend recently, and I’m a fan of The Innkeeper’s Blend. That suggests that so far, at least, Dedman might be on his way to another noteworthy label.

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Scott Bernard Nelson

Scott Bernard Nelson is a writer, actor and whiskey reviewer in Portland, Ore. Scott works in higher education these days, but he previously spent 22 years as a journalist, covering 9/11 in Manhattan, crossing into Iraq with U.S. Marines and contributing to The Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual...