Posted on January 9, 2013 | By TheEnabler | Comments Off on Old Forester Birthday Bourbon – The Review
Every year around Christmas-time (a coincidence?) my birthday comes around. Sadly, if I want to drink bourbon, all bourbon is much younger than I. I could switch to Scotch, win a million dollars, and drink booze older than I, but this has not yet come to pass.
So, this year for my birthday I got to to Old Forester Birthday bourbon, the 2010 bottling. This bourbon is aged twelve years and each year they put out a limited bottling of the “birthday bourbon.” I have had it 3 or 4 times but the 2010 bottling is, so far, my favorite.
A little background based on their own dubious website: According to them, Old Forester was the first bottled whiskey. This was due to it being medicinal and ladies needing a quality standard. It also claims that George Brown, who distilled Old Forester, invented the ubiquitous cardboard separator that goes into cases of 12 bottles that keeps them from banging into each other. One of the things that makes me dubious of the whole thing is the claim that the term “spiking the whiskey” (a term that I have never heard – heard of spiking things with booze, but not spiking booze itself) comes from competitors throwing nails into the barrels of whiskey to spoil them. First, never heard that phrase. Second, can’t find any other citation for that claim. Third, how the hell would they get nails into the barrels? Nail guns? Teleporation? Trained squirrels? Wuck? So, you can read their website and decide for yourself. It seems though, that Old Forester, while not the first bottled bourbon, was the first bourbon available exclusively in bottles, which was a way that doctors and pharmacists could guarantee quality of their medicine (ha!).
They may tell a tall tale, a whiskey drinking tradition, but they also make some decent booze. This particular bourbon is unique, as are all their birthday bourbons, but so far are pretty similar to my tasting. So, it goes like this:
Color: Deep amber.
Nose: A delicate hint of ketones. Smooth, sweet vanilla and caramel.
Palate: Oak, corn, a hint of citrus. Potent on the front for my friend, it had a somewhat harsh alcohol on the back of the tongue, while being smooth and sweet on the front for me. It leaves a nice tingling-almost a fleeting effervescence. The mouth feel is smooth, almost oily and “glowing”. Adding a bit of water smooths it out quite a bit but also takes some of the sweet ketones and warm mouth feel. I think I prefer it straight, but that would definitely be a matter of taste.
Finish: Warm, pleasant and long. This is a very warming drink.
Bottle: Cool shape. Like an old decanter, but if you put some cool decorations on it, you could fool yourself into thinking it was an “I Dream of Genie” bottle. Not that would even occur to me, but it might to some.
Sipping this bourbon on my birthday, I wondered what I needed to do to finish the day. Feeling in a lucky mood I headed off to PartyCasino.com. Dropped a few dollars while sipping but then made it back to finish off a happy and lucky birthday.
Notes: Old Forester is produced by Brown-Forman. The mashbill is 78% corn, 18% rye, and 10 % barley. While I am normally a wheated bourbon fan, this bourbon is pretty sweet and drinkable even for a man of my tastes. This is also the same mashbill for Woodford Reserve, which is one of my favorites at it’s price point. The 2010 is 95 proof, so a decent kick, but not barrel strength or anything close like some bourbons.
The final word- Old Forester Birthday Bourbons are gifts that do not disappoint. Want to give a great gift? Choose this bourbon. Rave reviews every time.