The King Returns to Bourbon

Brown-Forman’s bringing back King of Kentucky, one of its former brands that was discontinued in 1968.

I was a part of small group of media invited to taste the latest rendition.

Once a blend and 1-year-old bourbon, King of Kentucky is now a limited edition 14-year-old bourbon set to be released in June in Kentucky. It’s 125 proof and will cost $199.

It shares the Early Times mash bill of 79% corn, 11% rye and 10% malted barley. But unlike Early Times, which is partially stored in used oak, King of Kentucky is all new charred oak barrel.

Distilled at the Shively, Brown-Forman (DSP 354) distillery in 2003, only 16 single barrels will be released with an estimated yield of only 30% per barrel.

This will be an annual release with age statements every year. (It’s like they’re sending me an “aged” love letter.)

This bourbon’s story begins 14 years ago when master distiller Chris Morris earmarked these stocks for something special. At the time, they didn’t know what, but they flagged the barrels so they would not be dumped into other Brown-Forman products.

After seven years in Brown-Forman’s Shively heat-cycled warehouses, they were transferred to Brown-Forman’s (Louisville facilities) only non-heat cycled warehouse in O.

As the whiskey matured, Brown-Forman considered several of its former brands, including one of my favorites Old Tucker, before choosing King of Kentucky, which surfaced in 1881 and was named after horse racing–the sport of kings.  Brown-Forman acquired the brand in 1936.

I am reviewing this for Whisky Advocate, so I can’t comment on its tasting notes. But I can say, it’s damn good. And I hope to buy one of the less than 1,000 bottles.

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2 Replies to “The King Returns to Bourbon”

  1. One Bourbon that Brown-Foreman used to produce was their President’s Choice. I use to enjoy it back in the 1970’s. It was some of their finest and came in an attractive oval shape bottle.

  2. June release in Kentucky . . . ONLY in Kentucky? Will we have a chance to get one elsewhere – like if my local purveyor likes me? THX.

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