Old Forester King Ranch Edition celebrates tradition and authenticity in every bottle

Old Forester King Ranch Edition, photo by Cristine Struble
Old Forester King Ranch Edition, photo by Cristine Struble /

While bourbon might be America’s spirit, the golden liquor is more than patriotic pride in a bottle. From the first bottled bourbon to the only bourbon continually sold before, during, and after prohibition, Old Forester embraces its history in each and every bottle. Although the heritage is steeped into every offering, the Brown-Foreman company continues to look forward without forgetting its heritage. With the latest offering, Old Forester King Ranch Edition, the bourbon whiskey toasts to tradition, authenticity, and a celebration of the craft.

Over the years, more and more bourbon drinkers are looking for that special, sometimes even coveted, bottle. It might be the limited run, a special series, or a niche offering that has some drinkers seeking a sip of an exclusive bottle. While the panache might make the glint off the glass sparkle, the reality is the liquid inside must be equally as dazzling.

When it was announced that Old Forester was partnering with King Ranch, some people wondered how the legendary Kentucky distillery and the birthplace of American ranching would find common ground. Even though everything is bigger in Texas, that mindset did not overshadow the Kentucky heritage. Two words drive this partnership, tradition and authenticity.

Those two words are more than just cliché images thought to be representative of a region. Putting aside the rolling hills or the cows roaming the farm, the effort, dedication, and pride describe the willingness to work to do better. Standing on the legacy built by others, there is a sense of ownership that must be upheld.

As part of this unique partnership, Old Forester and King Ranch infused each and every bottle with parts of their history and traditions. Using mesquite wood from the Texas property to create the charcoal that infuses its flavor into the bourbon, the flavor connection is clear. More importantly, the process to create that component is equally representative of the authenticity that the two brands hold dear. Doing something right means putting in the effort.

Old Forester King Ranch Edition
Old Forester King Ranch collaboration, photo provided by Old Forester /

Flavor characteristics of Old Forester King Ranch Edition

While much can be said about the importance of bringing these two legends together, the bourbon whiskey needs to deliver a flavor that entices people to open that bottle. The propriety mesquite charcoal filtration method adds a roundness to the liquor. Without the bite or bitter from smoke, the flavor is nuanced, subtle and welcoming, almost like a glass of Texas and Kentucky hospitality.

With a maple syrup like color, the deep amber hue is almost alluring. A tinge of mystery unfolds as the first pour hits the glass. There is a longing to let the aroma take hold but the desire to drink is strong. With a slight sweet smell of marshmallow, a touch or jamminess from dried cherries, and a hint of richness from toasted pecans, the aromas feel warm, almost comforting. Similar to a fire on a crisp night, it invites the drinker to settle into the experience.

Upon first sip, the toasted notes from the heavily charred barrels take hold. Almost slightly nutty in character, the flavor gives way to a heartier spice quality, similar to a tobacco. Robust yet not overpowering, the stout character gives way to dark chocolate that seems to linger and invite another sip.

As the warm finish seems to linger, it invites a moment of contemplation. Although the glass is not empty, this bourbon whiskey is meant to be savored. Whether enjoyed with friends or in a moment of solitude, the experience is one that should not be rushed.

Old Forester King Ranch Edition Bourbon
Old Forester King Ranch edition bourbon, photo by Cristine Struble /

A sweet pairing for Old Forester King Ranch Edition

Although every bourbon drinker can choose how to enjoy their pour, the Old Forester King Ranch Edition is best enjoyed need or with a single, clear cube. Given the nuance from the craftsmanship, it should not be overshadowed with too many other flavors.

But, some food pairings can be a delightful choice to serve with a pour. Consider serving this bourbon whiskey with some dessert. A rich flourless chocolate cake or even an opera cake would be delightful. The richness of the chocolate can play off some of the flavors in the liquor.

For a slightly lighter pairing, consider a simple bread pudding. Whether the bread pudding has dried fruit or not may not matter. But, the sweet custard contrasting the spice qualities in the bourbon is a lovely option.

In some ways, the bourbon is quite versatile and could be paired with many foods. Still, ending a meal with some sweetness on the plate and this bourbon in a glass is the chef’s kiss to a delightful dining experience.

The Old Forester King Ranch Edition is 105 proof and has a suggested retail price of $69.99. It is exclusively sold in Texas and can be found at select retailers.

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