Old Forester Releases ‘King Ranch Edition’ Whiskey in Honor of Iconic Texas Ranch

by Jim Casey
photo courtesy Brown-Foreman

Good news. Great news. Bad news. First, the good: Old Forester teamed with Texas’ iconic King Ranch to release a special Old Forester King Ranch Edition Straight Bourbon Whisky. Second, the great: Outsider got its hands on a sample and it’s remarkably tasty (more on that below). Finally, the bad: the juice is only available in Texas.

King Ranch is the historic 825,000-acre ranch in South Texas that was established in 1853. The multi-operational ranch is known for its cattle breeding, horse breeding, wildlife management, agricultural commodities (cotton, sugar cane, almonds, and more), saddle shop, and branding partnership with Ford Motors, among others. King Ranch, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, is larger than Rhode Island. It’s a Texas institution.

Of course, Old Forester has been a reputable purveyor of fine Kentucky bourbon for more that 150 years. Old Forester is Brown-Forman’s founding brand, established in 1870 by George Garvin Brown. Brown believed Old Forester was so pure and consistent that he sealed it, signed it, and pledged, “There is nothing better in the market.” Honestly, we can’t argue with any of that.

King Ranch Edition

Bottled at 105 proof from a proprietary batch of Old Forester Bourbon using heavily charred barrels, the bourbon is finished through King Ranch mesquite charcoal. The charcoal was created from mesquite trees harvested from the ranch. The process brings a touch of Texas and helps highlight the bold flavor notes in this new bourbon. 

“This new product represents George Garvin Brown’s lasting legacy and Old Forester’s commitment to quality bourbon,” said Cole Irvin, a whisky innovator who helped craft the King Ranch Bourbon. “It’s a big, bold flavor—to match the big, bold ranch in South Texas.”

“Bourbon lovers across Texas are in for a rare and special treat that both whiskey connoisseurs and hardworking people can savor,” said Robert Hodgen, CEO at King Ranch. “We’re proud of the product as well as our partnership, which captures American history in a bottle.”

Old Forester King Ranch Edition: Specs

Outsider’s Tasting Notes: dark fruit, especially cherries, brown sugar, and toasted oak. The medium-long finish is warming and delightful. I’d drink this neat all day—and night. Road trip to Texas.

From Old Forester:

  • Color: Maple Syrup 
  • Aroma: Dried cherries, cranberries, toasted pecans and marshmallows drizzled with sorghum molasses
  • Flavor: Sweet dark chocolate, tobacco and leather spices mingle with toasted and caramelized oak and nut character
  • Finish: Long and warming
  • MSRP: $69.99
  • Proof: 105