Tag Archives: birthday bourbon

Old Forester

I’m a loyal fan to the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon series – every year I look forward to its release and each year it is surprising and interesting in a different way.  However, I’ve somehow never managed to try their main release.  Old Forester claims to be America’s first bottled bourbon, and if I remember my Cowdery correctly, this is a result of George Brown desiring to guarantee the quality of the ‘medicinal’ bourbon he sold.  By bottling only the spirit from barrels that met his standards, his customers/patients could be assured that they were getting the good stuff by making sure to purchase his personally signed bottles.

At first glance the recently redesigned bottle in front of me makes some allusions to this history, hopefully it will measure up to its Birthday brethren.

Stats:

– $24ish

– 86 proof

– Made by Brown-Forman

Presentation:

The Old Forester bottle has a simple, round, and reasonably tall base and a slightly bulbed neck leading to a small mouth.  The front label is dominated by a red and cream diamond in the center with the brand name and the proclamation of being America’s first bottled bourbon.  Behind this in pale gold script are some hyperbolic lines about the bourbon.  In most cases this is nothing special, but on Old Forester it recalls the original use of bottles to convey the legitimacy of the product it contains.  Just as George Brown presumably inscribed his bottles with descriptions of its quality – so too today.  Over all the bottle looks fresh and appealing.

Tasting:

The nose on Old Forester is strong but smooth.  The dominant scent is of sweet orange – almost like orange soda.  Behind that is some combination of oatmeal, oak, and maybe cinnamon.  That sweetness is not nearly as strong upon tasting.  There is a spark of it at he very beginning, but it quickly flips to a dry grain and oak profile that disappears quickly leaving a light, oaky (with a touch of that spice) finish.

Over all:

This certainly does not live up to the Birthday Bourbon releases, but that would really have been too much to expect for something at this price.  I do wish that the flavor profile would have matched the far more appealing nose, though.  I think this is not quite the type of bourbon I’d regularly sip on its own, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in my Old Fashioneds and Manhattans.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon – 2007

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.

Presentation:

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.

Tasting:

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.

Over all:

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.