King of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey 2022 fifth Version Assessment

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King of Kentucky is without doubt one of the most sought-after and fleeting bourbon releases of the previous couple of years. At the same time as a whiskey author and spirits competitors decide with numerous sources within the business, I’ve had a tough time getting my fingers on a bottle myself. Fortunately, that drought ended when a bottle of King of Kentucky fifth Version landed on my desk this week forward of its launch. Spoiler alert: this whiskey lives as much as the hype and then some.

However earlier than we get into that, let’s dive into why this tremendous uncommon whiskey is so particular. It was launched 5 years in the past by Brown-Forman Grasp Distiller Chris Morris, Brown-Forman’s man in Kentucky. Morris is finest recognized for his work on Woodford Reserve and Outdated Forester, amongst quite a lot of different hats he wears (Morris additionally helps make the barrels of Brown-Forman’s different large model, Jack Daniel’s). He began this specific label to focus on the superb barrels hiding within the Brown-Forman rickhouses in Kentucky.

This 12 months’s first launch (of solely two) is a 15-year-old single barrel expression that retails for $250. That doesn’t sound too unhealthy, proper? Right here’s the rub: these bottles are so revered and uncommon that the aftermarket value is 10 occasions that, simply.

Final 12 months’s launch is promoting for $3,500 already. And right here’s the even greater rub: you’ll must be in Kentucky for the discharge with a view to snag a bottle (although there can be some bottles in Ohio and Illinois this 12 months too). Oh, and King of Kentucky is usually thought of the very best bourbon of the 12 months by whiskey critics and followers alike. Add all of that up, and you’ve got the right storm for a uncommon launch that prices 1000’s of {dollars} the second after it hits cabinets.

Is it value it? Oops, yeah, I type of spoiled that already. Let’s simply dive in and see what’s within the bottle.

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King of Kentucky Single Barrel fifth Version, Barrel No. 14

King of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

ABV: 65.3%

Common Value: $249 MSRP

The Whiskey:

This 12 months’s King of Kentucky is a 15-year-old bourbon constructed from a mash of 79% corn, 11% rye, and 10% malted barley. The spirit — made on the Brown-Forman Distillery in West Louisville (Shively) — went into the barrel on December 18, 2009, at 125 entry-proof. After 15 lengthy years, solely about 35% of the whiskey was left within the barrel. 43 single barrels have been then chosen for this launch and individually bottled as-is, yielding about 3,500 bottles of King of Kentucky.

The Bottle:

King of Kentucky bottles really feel like a little bit of a throwback merged with profitable a Golden Ticket. The glass is traditional and dipped in wax. The label is a golden ticket of kinds with a white-on-black simplicity that pops with gold trim. The entire vibe imbues simplicity with class.

Tasting Notes:

The nostril opens with a hoecake with a sourdough edge which results in very previous boots rubbed with blonde Kiwi polish as pitchy fir mingles with dank honey with a sprinkling of dried berries and tender spices (suppose nutmeg and allspice) with a skinny layer of used vanilla husks subsequent to a faint whisper of honeydew melon and a twinge of chili pepper tobacco.

The palate is boldly mounted with ABV buzzing that results in an avalanche of scorching spices — Crimson Hots, sharp ginger, dried and woody chili peppers — that peaks with a blast of warmth from the ABVs earlier than lush vanilla cream cools every part down with notes of black cherry sweetness and previous wicker. After which one other wave of warmth arrives in your senses with a woody spice matrix that’s then tempered by darkish chocolate powder, brandy-soaked raisins, tender oats, buttery toffee, chocolate-covered espresso beans, dry cedar, and moist pipe tobacco minimize with black soil, and cherry stems. The tip leans into that earthiness with cherrywood tobacco and extra dried berries, slowly — and I imply slowly — fading by the heat of the end.

Backside Line:

It is a wild experience from begin to end. It’s daring, brash… and bombastic. That second wave of warmth and taste notes is fascinating, a giant “wow” issue. That may additionally imply that you could be want a rock to calm this one down. I can inform you that tasting it with a couple of drops of water actually opened it up into the stratosphere, so don’t maintain again.


99/100 — It is a rattling close to good pour of whiskey. It’s not solely daring, it’s 100% distinctive. These things rages towards the machine in your palate in the very best means whereas making you need extra, louder, greater, more durable — after which it delivers!


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