Old Forester

Review: Old Forester Single Barrels (2019 New Orleans Bourbon Festival)

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.

MIX

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.

SIP

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!

Mix: 6.5/10

Sip: 8/10

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Old Forester Statesman Bourbon Review


When the trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle debuted online, I literally jumped for joy.  Kingsman was an insane thrill ride.  It’s sort a of 007 on speed all the while winking to the audience.  The sequel, which opens in theatres this Friday, looks to be even wilder.

Movie tie-ins are nothing new.  Sometimes they seemed forced, but every now and then they’re done right.  In the first film, the cover for the secret organization was a tailor’s shop.  In the new film, their American counterpart’s cover: a Kentucky bourbon distillery.  The filmmakers teamed up with none other than Old Forester to create a quality bourbon that would fit right in with the over-the-top world of The Kingsman.

Not that the bourbon is over-the-top.  Well, maybe a little.  This ain’t the Old Forester you’re used to.

The nose is notably spicier than the standard Old Forester.  There is lots of oak spice, which makes me think a lot of the barrels for this release were pulled from upper warehouse floors.  Some hot cocoa, vanilla extract and caramel balance out that spice.  On entry, a sort of spiced vanilla custard, the kind topped with ground cinnamon, plays strongly and is complimented by orange zest.  Some baking spice and a hint of leather on the midpalate add more complexity.  The finish is long, with orange dreamsicle and mint lingering.

Old Forester set out to make a whiskey that balanced spice and heat, and they’ve succeeded.  The volume’s turned up from the standard Old Forester flavor profile, but is still built around the distillery’s DNA.  The whiskey is both familiar and new.  I know what I’m sneaking into the theatre when I watch this film.  7.5/10

Oldforester.com

Old Forester 1920 Bourbon Review

Image courtesy of Old Forester


Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style is the third entry in the brand’s Whiskey Row series, following Old Forester 1870 and Old Forester 1897.  The bourbon is an homage to the distillation of Old Forester during Prohibition as a medicinal whiskey.  It is bottled 115 proof and available for about $60 a bottle.  The 115 bottling proof featured here is what Brown-Forman calls vintage barrel strength. 

The nose features deep aromas of medium brown sugar, caramelized cherries and apples, vanilla cream, pie crust, and oak spice.  Taste-wise, Old Forester 1920 comes across as rich, with notes of spiced caramel, vanilla bean, chocolate covered almonds, and cinnamon sugar, followed by hints of white pepper and sweet corn mash.  The finish is long and warm, with caramel and some drying oak spice.

Old Forester’s Whiskey Row series seems to get better with each release, and 1920 is no exception.  This may just be my favorite regular bottling of Old Forester.  It’s rich and intense, and priced just right at about $60.  The high proof adds a slight brightness to the Old Forester flavor profile, while at the same time gives us a richer bourbon.  Very well done.  8.5/10

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