Brown-Forman’s King of Kentucky brand is back with its fourth release. and like the 2020 and 2018 releases, it’s a 14 year old single barrel bottling made from a 79% corn, 11% rye, and 10% barley mash. Proof varies among the 33 barrels and 2700 bottles, from roughly 125 to 135. All of this is indicated on the label.
As always, KoK is a (very) big bourbon that requires some careful attention to dilution to fully enjoy. At full strength, the nose is bursting with character, some barrel char giving way to an intense fruitiness, offering notes of dates, dried figs, orange peel — and a bit of burnt end barbecue. Well-spiced with everything in the baking cabinet — heavy on the cloves this year — this combination works well with its fruity elements.
Rich on the palate with notes of dark chocolate and Pedro Ximenez sherry, the whiskey has both a spicy and slightly winey character to it, a gentle nuttiness informing the finish. This sherried element (though the whiskey is not aged in sherry barrels, mind you) is more evident with a little time in glass and a splash of water, though I think this 2021 bottling can get by with less dilution than prior years’ did. An eyedropper is even more appropriate here than previously; too much water and the uniqueness of the bourbon gets lost.
Another standout from the King of Kentucky.
130 proof as reviewed. Reviewed: Barrel #7.