Following up on a critically-acclaimed debut, Dixon Dedman is back with the second release from his new brand 2XO, and this one is called The Innkeeper’s Blend. It’s a fitting name because Dedman himself is the former operator of the oldest continuously family-operated inn in the United States, the Beaumont Inn in Kentucky. He began working there at the age of 8 and credits that experience for helping to develop his palate, initially picking up a passion for flavor creation at the inn’s test kitchen.
Since transferring ownership of the Beaumont Inn to his cousins in late 2022, Dedman released his first bourbon under the 2XO banner, The Phoenix Blend, with The Innkeeper’s Blend marking not just the second release from the brand but also the second in what he’s dubbed “The Icon Series.”
While there are plans in the works for two additional series, Dedman hopes the Icon Series will be a place for him to tell a story and honor his journey in the whiskey world. With a $100 price tag, the Icon Series will be looking to thread the needle between being a splurge purchase and also one that folks aren’t hesitant to open on special occasions. Dedman himself said, “I wouldn’t trade anything for the emails and texts I’ve received from people saying they saved and opened [The Phoenix Blend] at the right moment.”
The first whiff of The Innkeeper’s Blend is jam-packed with fresh raspberries, a dose of sticky caramel, and some faint smokiness reminiscent of an extinguished match. Once the whiskey is given time to open up there’s a bit of buttered cornbread that develops along with spices like black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. On the palate that cornbread note becomes a bit grainier and the fresh raspberries cecome the dried kind – less juicy but still well developed. Rounding out the experience in the mouth is the appearance of leather, barrel char, and a sticky caramel sweetness that coats the tongue before a significant spice-laden finish grips the palate and hangs on for a lengthy and satisfying conclusion.
With this new release 2XO has built on their strong initial offering by utilizing the same lot of barrels from The Phoenix Blend but achieving a depth of flavor that the inaugural release didn’t quite capture. Fans of 2XO have much more to look forward to as the brand plans to expand their portfolio and release two additional series in the near future. Be on the lookout for the first release, the Oak Series, which is expected to debut in the early fall with the Gem of Kentucky Series to follow.
A / $100 / 2xowhiskey.com