King of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Named 2019 "American Whiskey of the Year"

Bourbon expert Fred Minnick reveals some surprises

Louisville, KY, Dec. 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Renowned whiskey critic Fred Minnick announced King of Kentucky Straight Bourbon as his American Whiskey of the Year.

In a blind tasting, streamed on YouTube Live, Minnick selected King of Kentucky over 35 contenders. Brown-Forman, creators of Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel, make King of Kentucky.

The moment Minnick sampled the glass, labeled “Y,” he knew it was either the winner or a finalist. 

“In my career, I have done a lot of blind tastings and there’s never been a Kentucky bourbon that dominated my palate so heavily,” said Minnick, editor-in-chief of Bourbon+ Magazine and longtime judge for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. “When I tasted the eventual winner, I knew it was special.”

Coming in second place was Michter’s 20-year-old Kentucky bourbon, another "stellar limited-edition bourbon." Third was Uncle Nearest 1820, a Tennessee product. And in fourth place, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength. Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch came in fifth. 

“I would put the Top 5 up against any whiskey in the world,” Minnick said. “But I'd be remiss if I didn’t point out the lack of availability of these whiskeys. However, I didn’t select these based on availability, I selected them for their flavor profiles. These are the very best I’ve tasted all year.”

Prior to the Best American Whiskey of the Year tasting, Minnick blind-tasted regular bourbons for his Best Everyday Bourbon award on Dec. 13. That winner, Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, also took part in this competiton.

Additional category winners include:

Best Celebrity Whiskey — Iowa-based Cedar Ridge’s No. 9 Reserve, a collaboration with Slipknot

Best Wheat Whiskey — Woodford Reserve Wheat Whiskey

Best Rye Whiskey — Thomas Handy Rye

Best Barrel Finish — Angel’s Envy Cask Strength

Best Non-Kentucky Bourbon—Woodinville

Best Blend of Straights — Barrell Bourbon Batch No. 21

Best Kentucky Bourbon/Overall Winner — King of Kentucky

YouTube Live link:


King of Kentucky, a Brown-Forman product, wins 2019 Whiskey of the Year competition Whiskey critic Fred Minnick

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