Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin
If you want a rare, extremely high-proof, and expensive whiskey, you are lucky because two new bottles from King of Kentucky have landed for its fifth annual release.
But is the King of Kentucky bourbon worth the King’s ransom?
Hitting only a few liquors and bar shelves, here’s an honest review of King of Kentucky bourbon– price and tasting notes to see if it’s worth hunting.
What’s King of Kentucky Bourbon?
King of Kentucky Bourbon is a limited-release high-proof single-barrel bourbon issued to mark the brand’s fifth anniversary.
Brown-Forman Corporation owns the bourbon.
The company released two rare bottles this year: (1) 15-year-old Kentucky Straight bourbon and (2) 18-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon.
Master Distiller Chris Morris is behind the King of Kentucky barrels, and the bottlings showcase the difference between proof, color, aroma, and flavor.
History & Origin
The King of Kentucky Bourbon’s new release marks the fifth anniversary of the brand’s revitalization.
It was first introduced in 1881 by Selected Kentucky Distillers and was acquired by Brown-Forman in the 1930s.
The company turned it into an inferior blended whiskey in the 1940s, and now it’s back in its bourbon glory as a single barrel in 2018.
How It’s Made
There are around 3,500 bottles of 15-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon from the King of Kentucky bourbon.
Using 79% corn, 11% rye, and 10% malted barley, it is fermented, distilled, and aged before bottling between 125 and 135 proof depending on the barrel.
However, there are only 250 bottles released exclusively for the 18-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon.
Aging Process & Age Statement
The 15-year-old King of Kentucky and 18-year-old Kentucky undergo the aging process to develop a nice flavor profile, aroma, and appearance .
Each undergoes aging in newly charred oak barrels and bears an age statement.
The 15-year-old King of Kentucky is aged fifteen years, while the 18-year-old King of Kentucky is aged 18 years.
15-Year-Old King of Kentucky
Palate: Oak spices, sorghum, dried fruit, caramel, rye spice, cinnamon, and thick mouthfeel
Color/Hue: Light mahogany
Nose: Honey, dried fruit, rich cigar tobacco, dark sorghum, oak, leather, baking spice, and well-balanced aged notes
Finish: Dry oak, cigar box, leather, rye, cinnamon, dry and bold lingering heat
18-Year-Old King of Kentucky
Palate: Rich molasses, dark tea, baking spice, dark caramel, and vanilla
Color/Hue: Rich amber golden
Nose: Baking spice, honeycomb, ripe tree fruit, and hints of tea leaf
Finish: Lingering, dry, bold, rich with notes of rich molasses and dark caramel
Ownership & Distillery
King of Kentucky is owned and produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation, and Chris Morris, the Master Distiller of Woodford Reserve, is in charge of the whiskeys.
In 2018, Brown Forman revived the label to pay homage to the brand’s past, and the new two bourbon bottles were released to commemorate the label’s fifth anniversary.
“The return of the two unique expressions demonstrates the company’s commitment and expertise in the growth of the American Whiskey Category.” – Chris Morris, Master Distiller.
Price & Value
King of Kentucky Bourbon was released with an MSRP; however, the price skyrocketed in the secondary market due to its rarity and extremely high proof.
The MSRP for the 15-year-old at 130.6 proof is $249.99, and the expression is available in Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio.
The 250 bottles of 18-year-old King of Kentucky Bourbon have a suggested retail of $349.99, which will be exclusive to the Kentucky market.
Common King of Kentucky Bourbon Prices
|Type||Size||Alcohol By Volume||MSRP||Average Price|
|15-Year-Old King of Kentucky Bourbon||750 ml||65.45%||$249.99||Roughly $2,895|
|18-Year-Old King of Kentucky Bourbon||750 ml||67.45%||$349.99||Roughly $10,950|
*Average prices are based on CANA Wine Co. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.
Compared to Other Bourbons
Evan Williams Bourbon
Evan Williams Bourbon is way cheaper than King of Kentucky bourbon. Based on Drizly, an Evan Williams Single Barrel bottle costs around $32.
However, if you are looking for an affordable entry bourbon, Evan Williams will not disappoint you.
It has lower proof than King of Kentucky (86.2 proof) and fine-tasting notes.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Buffalo Trace Bourbon is an amazing budget bourbon; however, like King of Kentucky, it can be challenging to snag a bottle of it.
A bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon costs around $34.99 in Drizly online, which is very cheap.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Elijah Craig Small Batch is another budget-friendly bourbon whiskey; however, unlike King of Kentucky, it has a low proof and is not that expensive.
Elijah Craig costs around $33.99 in Drizly, which is significantly inexpensive compared to King of Kentucky.
Can you buy the King of Kentucky Bourbon in all states?
No, you cannot buy the King of Kentucky bourbon in all states.
The 15-year-old is available in Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois, while the 18-year-old is exclusive in the Kentucky market.
However, due to the secondary market, you may be able to buy in other states but for a very lavish amount.
Is the King of Kentucky Bourbon limited edition?
Yes, King of Kentucky is a limited-edition bourbon. The 2022 release consists of 3,500 bottles of 15-year-old and 250 bottles of 18-year-old bourbons.
The barrels are matured in a heat-cycled warehouse, and the evaporation takes its toll, limiting the release.
King of Kentucky bourbon does reign supreme, especially for its tasting notes and flavor profile.
However, due to its rarity and skyrocketing price, chances to get hold of this royalty bourbon remain slim.
If you manage to snag a bottle, sip it slowly because these are powerful bourbons.