Old Forester 2016 Birthday Bourbon Review

Photo credit: Brown-Forman

Photo credit: Brown-Forman

Old Forester’s annual limited release of their Birthday Bourbon is one that always seem to escape me.  I’ve tried lots of other Old Forester expressions, but never their Birthday Bourbon.  I just can’t find it.

What’s so special about this release?  It comes out each fall to commermorate Brown-Forman founder George Gavin Brown’s September 2nd birthday.  Each release generally comes from one day of production, instead of a batching of several different ages, etc.  Aged 12 years, the 2016 edition of Birthday Bourbon was distilled on June 4, 2004.  All of the 93 barrels this release is comprised of matured on the 5th floor of Warehouse K at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Louisville.  I love the transparency here.  OFBB is bottled at 97 proof for a suggested retail price of $79.99.  Only 2,400 cases are available in the U.S. market.  Brown-Forman says this is the “largest quantity of Birthday Bourbon ever bottled.”

This year’s release of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon carries a rich nose, full of dark caramel, toasted rye spice and orange zest.  There’s a bit of vanilla bean in the background.  The richness of the nose makes it to the palate.  Creme brûlée, cinnamon sugar, and vanilla start things off, with the spice element ramping up into the finish.  There’s slight oak barrel-aged maple syrup and a hint of buttered toasted rye bread that pops up right before the long, sweet, spicy, and slightly citrusy finish.

OFBB is one of the richest bourbons I’ve tasted in a long while.  The journey of sweet to creamy to spicy work wonders here.  This release is much more interesting than Brown-Forman’s standard bottling of Old Forester.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the standard… this one is just that much better.  Like many fall bourbon releases, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon sells out the second it hits shelves.  So, fellow whiskey enthusiasts, if you see it – buy it!

9/10

Thanks to Brown-Forman for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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