In a significant industry development, Maureen Robinson, a seasoned veteran with 45 years of experience in the art of crafting Scotch whisky, has assumed the role of master blender at Kentucky Owl. The announcement, made on September 7th, marks a pivotal moment for the brand, owned by the Stoli Group.
Robinson's illustrious career includes stints at Diageo, where she worked on a range of iconic Scotch whiskies, such as Johnnie Walker, The Singleton, Buchanan's, and Old Parr. Her unparalleled expertise and extensive industry tenure make her the perfect fit for her new role, making her the brand's first female master blender.
Expressing her enthusiasm for this career transition into the bourbon industry, Maureen Robinson stated, "I'm really looking forward to my new career venture into the bourbon industry and, as the first female master blender at Kentucky Owl, I look forward to being a role model for aspiring women who have a passion for whiskey making. I'm honored to have this opportunity to work with The Stoli Group and bring my expertise from my career in Scotland to Kentucky Owl, a brand that I hold in high regard."
Robinson succeeds John Rhea, a member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame renowned for his work at Four Roses, who joined Kentucky Owl in 2021. Before Rhea, Dixon Dedman served as the master blender, resurrecting his family's pre-Prohibition brand in 2014. Kentucky Owl quickly captured the attention of devoted American whiskey enthusiasts with its high-proof, often highly aged bourbon and rye blends, often released at premium price points.
Over the years, the brand has expanded its offerings with more accessible expressions under The Wiseman label and has collaborated with whiskey makers worldwide on a series of releases that showcase diverse styles and whiskey-making techniques.
While this transition signifies a stylistic shift for Robinson, who received the prestigious Keeper of the Quaich honor in 2012 and was inducted into the Scotch Whisky Hall of Fame in 2019, her experience working with second-fill Bourbon barrels, heavily used in Scotch production, will undoubtedly influence her approach.
"I'm excited to be now working with first-fill bourbon barrels, understanding how flavor is influenced using new American oak barrels and the processes you can use to differentiate these flavors to create new whiskeys," she commented.
Chris Caldwell, Stoli Group Global CEO, expressed his enthusiasm for Robinson's appointment, saying, "With Maureen's impressive knowledge and vast blending experience on some of the world's biggest Scotch whisky brands, we are incredibly fortunate to have someone of her caliber to follow on from John Rhea, and we are all looking forward to her future contributions to Kentucky Owl with her new role as Master Blender. We would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to John for his immense blending stewardship of Kentucky Owl and The Wiseman and wish him all the very best in his retirement."
About Kentucky Owl
Kentucky Owl is a renowned and respected brand in the world of American whiskey. Known for its commitment to producing high-quality bourbon and rye, Kentucky Owl has carved out a special place in the hearts of whiskey enthusiasts. The brand's history dates back to the pre-Prohibition era when it was originally founded.
Under the leadership of Dixon Dedman, the brand experienced a revival in 2014, marking a significant moment in its resurgence. Dixon Dedman's efforts to resurrect his family's pre-Prohibition brand breathed new life into Kentucky Owl, and the brand quickly gained recognition for its exceptional products.
One of the distinguishing features of Kentucky Owl is its penchant for crafting bourbons and ryes with high proof and often extensive aging. This approach has resonated with those who appreciate bold and complex flavors in their whiskey. These premium and aged expressions, while often commanding a higher price point, have become prized collectibles among American whiskey collectors.
In addition to its flagship products, Kentucky Owl has expanded its range to offer more accessible expressions under the label "The Wiseman." This strategic move allows the brand to cater to a broader range of whiskey enthusiasts, ensuring that the Kentucky Owl experience is accessible to a wider audience.
Furthermore, Kentucky Owl has engaged in collaborations with whiskey makers from around the world. These collaborations have resulted in a series of releases that showcase diverse styles and innovative whiskey-making techniques. This commitment to exploration and innovation demonstrates the brand's willingness to push boundaries while staying true to its roots.
Kentucky Owl's dedication to craftsmanship and its ability to strike a balance between tradition and innovation have firmly established it as a prominent player in the American whiskey scene. Its legacy, combined with a commitment to quality, ensures that Kentucky Owl continues to be a brand of choice for those seeking exceptional and distinctive whiskey experiences.