One of the biggest releases of the fall bourbon season (besides a brand that rhymes with “happy”) is Brown-Forman‘s King of Kentucky. The super-premium brand had a re-launch in 2018, making this the sixth release of the historic label that dates back to 1881.
The 2023 King of Kentucky will be 16 years old and will range in proof from 125 to 135.
“This year’s release of 51 barrels came from one production date — July 19, 2007,” said Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “This showcases what a difference each individual has at this extreme age on the color, flavor and aroma of this wonderful whiskey.”
There will only be 3,800 bottles available. The good news is most of these will remain in Kentucky, but you also might get lucky in Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.
The suggested retail price is $299.99 if you can find it on a shelf, but the secondary rate for these big daddies is about five times that amount.
Last year, the company celebrated the fifth anniversary of the King of Kentucky with two releases: an 18-year-old and 15-year-old. So it appears we’re now back to a one-age release with this one.
I was fortunate to receive a media sample of the new King, and I can verify that it is indeed quite delicious, rich and tasty and worth every penny of the $300. There’s a lot of dark chocolate and baked cherries in this one, followed by a hint of that Brown-Forman banana and vintage funk.
It also doesn’t seem as hot as previous years, and my sample was 125.8 proof. It sugar coats my lips and warms my throat, but it’s not an uncomfortable heat at all.
It’s a true bourbon unicorn indeed.