Old Forester King Ranch Bourbon Review (2023 Edition)

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 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.

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.


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.

Wrapping Up

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.



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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