Bourbon Industry

Good news: There’s more King of Kentucky bourbon. Bad news: It’s even pricier.

The King is back: Brown-Forman is releasing a second edition of King of Kentucky and it’s more expensive than ever.

Last year, the King of Kentucky limited edition was $200, and it went fast.

Read Next

It will hit shelves in early July, the company said.

This year’s edition has a suggested retail price of about $250, but don’t expect it to hang around shelves either. There will be only about 2,000 bottles of the 15-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon, which is 131.3 proof.

Aged on the first floor of Warehouse O, according to Brown-Forman, this bourbon is the color of “bright sorghum,” with notes of honeycomb, caramel, marzipan, toasted coconut, dried apricot, creme brulee and rich oak.

Sounds like a dessert bourbon.

“Given Brown-Forman’s 148 year history of crafting great Kentucky bourbon, it is a memorable event to bring back to life a long-retired brand and to introduce it to a generation of aficionados,” said Chris Morris, master distiller, in a statement. “King of Kentucky will provide whiskey connoisseurs with a rare look into Brown-Forman’s rich barrel archives.”

The Louisville-based distiller plans on making King of Kentucky an annual/periodic release from single-barrel inventory, bottled at barrel strength after minimal filtering, with each release as unique as every barrel.

“As we sample and taste our barrels in inventory, the selection is made based on flavor profile development,” Morris said. “Some barrels take longer than others to reach their peak of perfection. This year we have selected barrels from two different production dates, both 15 years of age.”

Each bottle will be filled, wax-dipped and numbered by hand with details about the proof, age, warehouse location, lot number and barrel selected by Morris on the label, according to the release.

The brand, King of Kentucky, is a very old one, established in 1881 as a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. Brown-Forman acquired the brand in 1936 from Selected Kentucky Distillers, and by 1940 had converted it to a blended whiskey, which was discontinued until 1968. Last year, Brown-Forman brought the name back with its most expensive bourbon release to that date. (It’s since been surpassed by a $1,500 Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition available only in duty-free stores.)