Have you heard of King Ranch? Established in 1883, it is a privately-held Texan agricultural company that includes an 825,000-acre ranch that raises cattle and horses. Crops such as cotton, sugar cane, pistachios, almond, and various vegetables are grown, and it is also home to a wildlife preserve and recreational area. It also has a marketing relationship with Ford pickup trucks.
Most American whiskey drinkers have heard of Old Forester, which bills itself the first Bourbon packaged exclusively in sealed bottles. Something that is less commonly known is that it is the longest-continuously produced Bourbon, spanning a whopping 152 years! It is owned by Brown-Forman, which also owns well-known brands such as Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve.
Old Forester and King Ranch have come together to offer Old Forester King Ranch Edition, a limited-edition Bourbon. It is so limited that you can only buy it in Texas.
“This new product represents George Garvin Brown’s lasting legacy and Old Forester’s commitment to quality bourbon. It’s a big, bold flavor – to match the big, bold ranch in South Texas.” - Cole Irvin, a whisky innovator who helped craft the King Ranch Bourbon
What makes this whiskey unique? It begins with a “proprietary” batch of Old Forester Bourbon. That could, of course, mean anything. But, more unusual is the whiskey aged in heavily-charred, new American oak barrels before going through a finishing run via King Ranch mesquite charcoal, harvested from mesquite trees grown on the ranch.
Old Forester King Ranch Edition is packaged at 105°, and a 750ml bottle has a suggested price of $69.99. It carries no age statement.
I thank Old Forester for providing me with a sample of King Ranch in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. And now, it is time to #DrinkCurious.
Appearance: Poured neat into my Glencairn glass, Old Forester King Ranch presented as raw honey, forming a medium-thin rim. Fast, thick tears rolled down the wall and back into the pool.
Nose: An aroma of fruity notes such as cranberry and cherry joined with sweet brown sugar and butterscotch. There was a slap of toasted oak as well. The brown sugar became heavy when I drew the vapor into my mouth.
Palate: An oily texture offered the front of my palate flavors of cocoa powder, nutmeg, and caramel. As it moved to the middle, I tasted raisin, plum, and black cherry, and then, on the back, I found tobacco leaf, old leather, and clove.
Finish: A medium-long finish featured very dark chocolate, leather, tobacco, and pecan praline.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I found Old Forester King Ranch fascinating. Based on the description, I had expected mesquite to play a major role. In the case of this Bourbon, it didn’t even make the cutting room floor. I’m sure it did impact the flavors I discovered from this pour, which were enjoyable.
Old Forester King Ranch drinks at its stated proof, if not a point or so higher. It was big and bold, and nothing in this Bourbon came across as shy. Regarding a value statement, it is a one-and-gone release and not priced obnoxiously. Overall, I believe Old Forester King Ranch is a tasty Bourbon and well worth my Bottle rating. If you don’t live in Texas, see if a friend can grab one. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.