King of Kentucky Bourbon
The King is dead. Long live the King!
Whatever bourbon was King in Kentucky heretofore has been supplanted by the new self-proclaimed King of Kentucky Bourbon from Brown-Foreman, its coronation (roll-out for you commoners) will be in June of this year.
King of Kentucky will be the most expensive offering in Brown Foreman’s history at $199 per 750 ml. bottle.
The King brand was not always so royal. It was actually launched in 1881 and the name purchased by Brown-Foreman at the end of prohibition In the 1930’s so the company could get some kind of offering on the shelves while their ubiquitous Old Forester and Early Times brands were ramping back up into production.
At that time the King was offered as a simple 1 year old whiskey or a bourbon blended with “grain neutral spirits”. Pretty low in the peerage if indeed it appeared at all. The brand ceased production in the late 60’s.
The new King of Kentucky is a different kind of regent altogether. Sharing the same mash bill as Early Times (79 percent corn, 11 percent rye and 10 percent malted barley), the King has spent a lot more time in the barrel than Brown-Foreman’s popular value brand having been set aside back in 2004 under the care of Master Distiller Chris Morris.
In the intervening decade and a half the barrels had been moved into a couple of different warehouse environments to control evaporation and flavor factors as well.
The Making of a King
In all, 16 barrels were set aside for 14 years which when opened had lost about 70% to the angel’s share. This rare bourbon is being bottled at barrel proof meaning the proof will vary between 125 and 135. (Are you beginning to see why the King commands this kind of tribute…..errrr…..price?).
In all, Brown-Forman will offer about 960 bottles and they don’t expect it to last long. This first annual release will focus on Kentucky. I expect quite a few bottles will end up in collections and in the secondary market before long, so make your plans now to be there for the King’s second coming.