King of Kentucky is Back from Brown-Forman with a 15-Year Age Statement

King of Kentucky 2019 Release. Photo Courtesy Brown-Forman.
King of Kentucky 2019 Release. Photo Courtesy Brown-Forman.

King of Kentucky, the annual single barrel release from Brown-Forman, is returning next month for its second-ever release.

This year’s offering will be a selection of single barrels aged for 15 years and bottled at barrel strength (the ones we know of are between 125 and 131 proof). The bourbon will be minimally filtered, and each will have a unique proof and serial number hand-written on the label.

The King of Kentucky brand was first established in 1881 and purchased in 1936 by Brown-Forman. It was bottled as a blended whiskey beginning in 1940 and discontinued in 1968. In summer 2018, after a 50 year hiatus, the distillery revived the brand with a 14-year Kentucky Straight Bourbon release.

“As we sample and taste our barrels in inventory, the selection is made based on flavor profile development,” said Master Distiller Chris Morris in a press release. “Some barrels take longer than others to reach their peak of perfection. This year we have selected barrels from two different production dates, both 15 years of age.”

The distillery offers tasting notes of “rich notes of dark honeycomb, caramel, marzipan and toasted coconut are enhanced with hints of toasted hazelnut, vanilla and dried apricot fruit… brightened with resinous oak, cinnamon and clove spice character,” on the nose. On the palate, we’re told to expect a “creamy honeycomb and creme brûlée caramel [that] coat a rich oak backbone… with hints of ripe melon, dry apple peel and cardamon spice,” and a long warm finish with apple peel dryness.

Around 2000 bottles (double last year’s amount) of King of Kentucky are hitting shelves next month with a suggested price of around $250.

Caroline Paulus
Caroline Paulus is the Senior Editor for The Bourbon Review. She lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky. Follow her on Instagram @misswhiskeyhistorian to keep up with her latest in bourbon news - and a few old finds, too.