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Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon Review (2024 Edition)

Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon Review

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Old Forester bourbon, in collaboration with the King Ranch, created a bottle that captures American history and holds the legacy of the two brands.

This debut collaboration of two iconic American brands connects and celebrates with Kentucky Derby; unfortunately, the limited bottles were only available in Texas. 

We’re ready to give our take on this bottle with this Old Forester King Ranch bourbon review.

Overview On Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon 

Bottle of Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon

Old Forester King Ranch comes from two heritages—the Brown family has seven generations of whisky-making, and the King Ranch family celebrates eight generations of ranching.

With a combined history of more than 300 years, this collaboration debuts its flagship last November 2022 but is only available in Texas.

It was distilled in Brown Forman distillery, which also makes Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s, and aged in heavily charred barrels to produce a smoky expression.

But who makes Old Forester bourbon?

Quick Facts 

DistilleryOld Forester Distillery (Brown Forman)
Classification & RegionBourbon, Kentucky, USA
Alcohol Proof105-proof (52.5% ABV)
Mash Bill72% corn, 18% rye, 10% barley
Age StatementNAS
ColorGolden Maple
Average Price$69.99 (MSRP)

What’s Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon?

Old Forester King Ranch is a blend of whiskey finished over King Ranch mesquite charcoal.

The charcoal is created from mesquite trees [1] harvested from King Ranch’s own land.

Did you know? King Ranch owned three Derby winners.

 “It’s a big, bold flavor – to match the big, bold King Ranch in South Texas.”

– Cole Irvin, Whisky Innovator

This bourbon is a rare and ‘special treat’ dram for those bourbon lovers and whiskey connoisseurs who are fond of the smoky flavor notes of bourbon.

Brown Forman’s unique finish to utilize ‘charcoal filtration’ from mesquite wood impacts bold flavor notes in the bourbon.

What Does The Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon Taste Like? 


The Old Forester King Ranch edition has a pleasant and relatively light aroma. It has oak, leather notes, and slightly smokey wood notes passing into burnt wood.

This bourbon has subtle creosote-soaked [2] railroad ties, but vanilla and caramel notes offset the sharp odor.


A nice toffee note greets our palate with even lighter fruit flavors upfront, like orchard and stone fruits with leather spices that mingle with oak and caramelized nuts.

It has a mesquite taste, but the wood varnish notes are not entirely present on the palate—the mesquite charcoal’s interaction might have mellowed the bourbon.


It has a long, crisp, and warm finish. The leather notes and spices have a light sweetness that balances it all out.

Why We Like It

  • It has a classic palate with layered flavors over leather and spice notes.
  • It is excellent for cocktails or mixed drinks because of its relatively high alcohol content and bolder flavor.


3 Bottles of Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon
  • Not recommended to pair with heavy tobacco or cigar because too much wood note can result in creosote flavors overpowering the quality of bourbon.
  • It lacks sweetness and a robust wood note typically present in Old Forester’s standard line.

The Rating On Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon

We give this Old Forester King Ranch edition a 3-star rating for its price and tasting profile. It could be a better sipper if it had fewer sharp notes.

This Old Forester portfolio has a bold, smoky profile that is also great for any mixed drink.

Did you know? Old Forester is the primary ingredient in Mint Julep sold over Kentucky Derby weekend. 

To Get Or Forget? 

Old Forester King Ranch  Bottle on a Desk

At its fair price, we’ll definitely get a bottle. For a 105-proof, an average bourbon enthusiast will love its full-profile and warm finish.

Also, it might be a good starter for those new drinkers who are into smoky and spicy whiskey. But if you can’t have a bottle in your state, here are some alternatives:

  • George Dickel Rye Whiskey – 90-proof, finished through sugar maple charcoal, and chill filtered before being bottled.
  • Cooper’s Craft Straight Bourbon – 82.2-proof, finished through a mix of beech and birch wood.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is the Old Forester King Ranch bourbon so popular?

The Old Forester King Ranch edition is popular because its unique collaboration celebrates two distinct heritage and highlights American history in a bottle.

What do the mesquite and oak charcoal filtering process do to Old Forester King Ranch bourbon?

The mesquite and oak charcoal filtering procedure gives another layer of smoky flavor to Old Forester King Ranch bourbon, similar to a Wild Turkey Longbranch bottle.

What does Old Forester King Ranch taste like?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, I don’t have specific information about Old Forester King Ranch, and tasting notes may vary depending on the release and its unique characteristics.

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on the flavor profile, it’s recommended to refer to the product label, official Old Forester website, or expert reviews.

What company owns Old Forester Bourbon?

Old Forester Bourbon is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, a well-established American spirits and wine company.

Brown-Forman has a rich history in the beverage industry and is known for producing a variety of brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Woodford Reserve, and other premium spirits.

What does Old Forester 100 taste like?

Old Forester 100, also known as Old Forester Signature, is a higher-proof expression with a distinct flavor profile. It typically features robust notes of rich caramel, vanilla, and oak, with a well-balanced spiciness.

The elevated proof of 100 (50% alcohol by volume) contributes to a bolder and more intense taste, making it a popular choice for those who appreciate a full-bodied bourbon.

What are the ingredients in Old Forester bourbon?

Old Forester Bourbon follows the standard requirements for bourbon production, which include a mash bill (grain recipe) of at least 51% corn, along with a blend of other grains such as rye and malted barley. The specific mash bill proportions for Old Forester may not be publicly disclosed, as distilleries often keep this information proprietary.

Additionally, the aging process involves maturation in new charred oak barrels. The combination of these ingredients and the aging process contributes to the distinctive flavor profile of Old Forester bourbon, characterized by a balance of sweetness, spice, and oak influence.

For precise details on the mash bill or other production information, it’s recommended to check with the official Old Forester website or contact the distillery directly.

What is so special about King Ranch?

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, specific details about what makes King Ranch special in the context of Old Forester are not readily available.

King Ranch may refer to a particular release, collaboration, or limited edition from Old Forester, and the uniqueness could be attributed to factors such as a special blend, cask selection, or partnership.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on what makes King Ranch special, it’s recommended to refer to the product label, official Old Forester website, or expert reviews.

Why is it called Old Forester?

Old Forester is named after George Garvin Brown’s pharmaceutical sales business, which transitioned into the whiskey industry.

Brown believed in consistent quality, and to assure customers of the whiskey’s authenticity, he sealed each bottle with his handwritten pledge, “Old Forester,” making it the first bottled bourbon with a registered brand.

Does Old Forester own Jack Daniel’s?

No, Old Forester and Jack Daniel’s are not owned by the same company. Old Forester is owned by Brown-Forman Corporation, a prominent American spirits and wine company.

In contrast, Jack Daniel’s is owned by Brown-Forman as well. Both brands fall under the Brown-Forman portfolio, but they maintain distinct identities and production processes.

What is the alcohol content of Old Forester?

Old Forester offers a range of expressions with varying alcohol content. The standard Old Forester Bourbon, like the 86 Proof, typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 43%.

Old Forester 100, also known as Old Forester Signature, features a higher proof with an ABV of 50%. The specific alcohol content may differ based on the expression, so it’s advisable to check the label of the particular Old Forester product for accurate and up-to-date information on alcohol content.

Which Old Forester is best for an Old Fashioned?

Selecting the best Old Forester for an Old Fashioned largely depends on personal preference, but Old Forester 100 (Old Forester Signature) is a popular choice for this classic cocktail due to its higher proof (50% alcohol by volume) and robust flavor profile, standing up well to the sweetness and bitters typically used in an Old Fashioned.

How would you describe the taste of ranch?

The taste of ranch, when referring to a flavor commonly associated with ranch dressing, is typically described as creamy, tangy, and herb-infused.

It often contains a blend of buttermilk, garlic, onion, dill, parsley, and other seasonings, creating a well-balanced and versatile flavor profile that complements various dishes, from salads to chicken wings.

Which Old Forester is best for an Old Fashioned?

As mentioned earlier, Old Forester 100 (Old Forester Signature) is often considered an excellent choice for an Old Fashioned due to its higher proof and robust flavor.

However, personal preferences vary, and some individuals may opt for other Old Forester expressions, such as Old Forester 86 Proof or Old Forester 1870 Original Batch, depending on their preferred balance of sweetness and spice in the cocktail.

What is the description of ranch flavor?

The flavor of ranch dressing is characterized by its creamy and savory profile, featuring a combination of buttermilk, garlic, onion, and a medley of herbs and spices. The result is a versatile and flavorful dressing that adds richness and tanginess to salads, vegetables, and various dishes.

The specific nuances of ranch flavor can vary between homemade and store-bought versions, and different brands may have their own unique variations on this classic taste.

Overall, ranch flavor is often associated with a well-rounded and savory taste that enhances the overall enjoyment of many foods.

Wrapping Up for Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon Review

Old Forester King Ranch is a collaboration between the Brown family, brewing for seven generations, and the King Ranch family, which has been run since then by eight generations.

Without a question, its captures American history in a bottle with its great tasting profile—a rare and special treat that both whiskey connoisseurs and bourbon lovers will appreciate.

But sadly, it’s not for someone with a sweet tooth for bourbons because it lacks sweetness in the overall profile.

Compared to other Old Forester bottles like Old Forester Statesman, 1910 or 1920, it doesn’t have the maple syrup sweetness and rich oaky notes you might expect.


  1. Mesquite
  2. Identifying Creosote, the Bitter Flavor on Smoked Meats
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