I’ve never read a bad word about the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon series, so I was excited to try this one out. I also tried out a new liquor store today, Wine Exchange, which didn’t have the greatest selection, but the manager was very friendly – asking what he should add to his bourbon offering. With any luck, this implies that we’ll have a decent source of bourbon in the neighborhood soon.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon comes in a squat little bottle with a hearty cork stopper. Its labeling is not over done and quite tasteful. It doesn’t pander to the nostalgists but it does have a weighty feel to the branding. The bottle itself isn’t burdened by origin stories or lists of awards – those are relegated to a little booklet attached to the neck. Perhaps this is out of respect for those of us that prefer a vessel unadorned by too much text, but more likely it is simply because the number of awards this series has won can only fit in such a separate booklet.
To the nose Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2007 is rich and smooth. It’s dominated by sweet caramels, buttercreams, andcomes across without any sharp edges. Each scent layers easily with the next. Quite attractive.
On the palate OFBB can give some of my favorite single malt scotches a run for their money. It opens with a citrusy tartness that recalls lemon drops and pineapple. This drops into a sensation that borders between the saltiness of Talisker and freshly baked cupcake. Next a cool mintiness creep up from the back then fades into a long, moderately warm finish with only the slightest notes of oak looking in on the edges. Very well done.
This 2007 edition is very impressive. It is quite complex without brashness of a Knob Creek or any sharp angles to speak of. For a bourbon aged 13 years, I’m surprised by how free of wood it is – as though it traded in the wet oak aspects for a subtlety and variety of character not often seen.
This is possibly my favorite selection since starting this blog.