Aged charred oak | Dark brown sugar | Cocoa powder | Dark fruits | Great intensity & very well balanced
Candied grapes | Stewed dark fruits | Fruit cake | Seasoned oak | Beautifully balanced | Robust & velvety
Spiced dark fruits | Charred aged oak | Dry oak | Mildly tannic | Perfectly tempered oak note | Long & robust
They don’t call it King of Kentucky for nothing.
King of Kentucky releases have been nothing but consistently good since Brown-Forman began releasing them in 2018. Now in its sixth edition and sporting a 16 year age statement, this year’s release is notable for its lower proof compared to previous editions. The flavor profile is in the same wheelhouse as past King of Kentucky releases, which has often been the case. But it’s not a carbon copy of last year’s release, as the flavor profile does deviate slightly, mainly with the palate’s surprising candied grape note. It’s not a transformative change but one that will stick out rather strikingly at first before the brand's typical stewed dark fruits and intense barrel char take over.
As is often the case with a decrease in proof, the bourbon’s flavors are allowed a little more breathing room. High proof bourbons and their resulting big flavors are great, but sometimes a lower proof barrel proof bourbon can offer its own set of benefits. That is exactly the case with this year’s edition of King of Kentucky. Pound for pound it tastes just as intense, yet the lower proof allows the whiskey to be more cohesive and better balanced throughout its sip. Its oak note, which is strung throughout its lengthy sip, is perfectly tempered. Its flavor profile is once again tight, zeroing in on a few flavors and offering them with precision. The 2023 release of King of Kentucky is once again king of Brown-Forman’s portfolio. It sticks with the mantra, “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it,” and while that could lead to stagnation and complacency, this is one release that doesn’t need to change a thing besides being more readily available for all.
Bottle in review is from Batch No. 22, which the company states is a “Representative Barrel.” This year’s edition comprises 3,800 bottles.