“Given Brown-Forman’s 148-year history of crafting great Kentucky Bourbon, it is a memorable event to bring back to life a long retired brand and to introduce it to a new generation of aficionados,”Chris Morris, Master DistillerClick to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.
King of Kentucky Bourbon
- DISTILLER: Brown-Forman
- MASH BILL: 79% Corn | 11% Rye | 10% Malted Barley
- AGE: 14 Years
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 125.8 (62.9% ABV) for initial single release (expect variances)
- MSRP: $199.00
TASTE: Powerful entry brings citrus hard candy followed by caramel, some toffee and ample oak | tannin and a bit of butter appear at midpalate | second sip is electrically sweet, a caramel bomb with cinnamon sticks | exhale through the nose to get dusty rose, barnwood | add water and texture richens immensely to nearly unctuous and tames The King’s fire.
FINISH: Tannic, dry and fairly short | despite high proof, little residual burn | adding water rounds it perfectly.
SHARE WITH: Bourbon fans. Irish and Scotch fans may be overwhelmed by high proof unless well-watered down.
WORTH THE PRICE: At $199, this is the highest MSRP ever for a Brown-Forman whiskey. Steep for sure, so value will be unique to the buyer. Had I the money to splurge and could find it, I just might. Fans of Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style will recognize this close cousin and perhaps take the plunge.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Given the price and power of The King of Kentucky, start at the bar. Also, this is a 960-bottle run will be released in June of ‘18, so we’re talking unicorn status.
OVERALL: Sipped at proof, The King of Kentucky is a fierce ruler of the palate. Born of the Early Times whiskey mashbill, it packs a punch that’s amplified by aging 7 of its 14 years in a heat-cycled warehouse. I prefer high-proof whiskeys, yet at full strength, The King subdued me initially. I tried everything to tame its wrath: letting it breathe at length, spreading samplings over many weeks, swirling and agitating to the point of repetitive strain. But nothing doing: still overpowering. Yet when I added water—to the point that I likely proofed it down into the 90s—it transformed it into a superbly creamy and luscious whiskey with dark candy and roasted fruit notes; it had become a benevolent monarch and I really wanted more. Sadly, for me, my small press sample was gone by that time.
Disclaimer: Brown Forman provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.