Classification: Straight Bourbon
Distillery: The Brown-Forman Distillery
Release Date: July 2019
Proof: 131 (Proofs range from 125-135)
Age: 15 Years
Mashbill: 79% Corn, 11% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
MSRP: $250 (2019)
Available only in Kentucky, King of Kentucky is a rebirth of the classic brand by Brown-Forman. The original King of Kentucky label was named in honor of horse racing, also known as the “sport of kings.” According to the company’s press release, “...this release is based on a brand of the same name that was established in 1881. Brown-Forman acquired the brand from Selected KY Distillers, Inc. in 1936, and discontinued it in 1968.”
The release is derived from 27 single barrels with an average yield of 30%, that range in proof between 125-135. Brown-Forman estimates this year’s release to be 2,100 bottles, which is about 1,140 more bottles than last year’s inaugural release. The single barrel sample provided to us by Brown-Forman is from Barrel No. 8.
Honey, cherry, cinnamon, peaches, leather and seasoned oak form a sophisticated aroma that beautifully showcases the bourbon’s age while still maintaining its punchiness. The palate is rich and while the bourbon is certainly hot, distinct notes of dark chocolate, brandy cherries, sweet oak, and rye spice come though the heat gracefully. It finishes dry with a touch of sweetness, leaning heavily on oak.
The 2019 release of King of Kentucky picks up right where last year’s edition left off. It is once again an excellently constructed bourbon that balances its sweet and oak flavors nicely. There are plenty of full flavored barrel proof bourbons, but few match the quality of flavors and pure richness of this bourbon.
Jordan awarded the 2018 edition one of his favorite bourbons last year. The year is only half over but it looks like there will be a good chance the 2019 edition will make our list again. Yes, it’s that good.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Brown-Forman. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.