With the New Orleans Bourbon Festival right around the corner, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at some of their 2019 single barrel picks in a series of short reviews. A lot of the whiskies in this series are still available in certain New Orleans retail stores and will be poured at the 2019 New Orleans Bourbon Festival.
Leave it to the New Orlean Bourbon Festival to pick not one, but two barrels of Old Forester, aptly named “Mix” and “Sip”. Both barrels rested on the first floor of Warehouse O. There is no age information available, and both releases are bottled at 90 proof. These barrels were picked by Michael Veach, Rosemary Miller, Peggy Noe Stevens, Jason Brauner, Steve Akley, Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan, and Barbara & Tracy Napolitano. Quite the impressive team.
The nose seems a bit youthful and slightly subdued with hints of ethanol, spice, and slightly burnt caramel. A little airtime reveals roasted corn and a floral note. The palate is generally sweet with candied corn and molasses. A bit of baking spice develops mid-palate. The medium finish with lingering notes of honey, anise, and oak.
This goes to show how different barrels can be. The nose here is fuller than “Mix” with hints of red fruits, caramel, honey, and some toasted oak. Like its sibling, “Sip” starts out a bit sweet with honeyed red fruit and caramel. A wave of baking spices and roasted corn develop, followed closely by slightly astringent oak. The finish is longer, with hints of spice, caramel, and a note reminiscent of root beer concentrate.
Like I mentioned before, both of these Old Forester single barrel picks are aptly named. “Mix” could be fantastic in a Mint Julep or Old Fashioned. It’s not very complex, but has just enough character to stand out in those cocktails. Meanwhile, “Sip” is a bourbon I could pour over and over. It has a slightly heavier mouthfeel than “Mix”, and that really interesting finish… Come on, root beer!