- DISTILLER: Old Forester Distilling Company
- MASH BILL: 72% Corn | 18% Rye | 10% Malted Barley
- AGE: 12 Years
- YEAR: 2017
- PROOF: 96 (48% ABV)
- MSRP: $79.99
- BUY ONLINE: Wine-searcher.com
NOSE: Brown Sugar | Baking Spice | Fruit | Oak
TASTE: Spice | Cocoa Powder | Fruit
FINISH: Dark Fruit | Rock Candy | Oak | Bubblegum
SHARE WITH: The people you would normally to break out the good stuff for. Bonus points if they also appreciate pretty bottles.
WORTH THE PRICE: At MSRP, absolutely. I live in a control state and was lucky enough to get a bottle for $78.99. The same day I got mine, I saw folks complaining that stores around the country were trying to get $350 for it. Is it worth it at that price? Not to me. Your mileage may vary. Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a heavily anticipated annual limited release, so you’ll need to get a bottle from a control state, a very scrupulous liquor owner with whom you’ve built a relationship, or pay secondary market prices.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle if you can, bar if you can’t. For one thing, it’s one of the most iconic bottles in 21st century bourbon. I know several people who collect these for their children’s birth years.
OVERALL: While I don’t find this to be a bourbon that holds a lot of surprises, it delivers on all that it promises. The sugar on the nose sets you up nicely for the taste, and the sweetness on the finish that reminds me Bazooka bubble gum. “Sweet” isn’t usually a descriptor I attach to bourbons I really enjoy, but OFBB ‘17 balances it with big spice that brings winter holidays to mind. The fruit is an undercurrent throughout that starts bright on the nose and darkens though the palate until it’s practically stewed on the finish. At 96 proof, it’s easy drinking. I’m curious what this would be like closer to barrel proof though I could see the spice becoming too strong. In all, a strong offering in honor of Mr. Brown’s birthday.
The 2017 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon was drawn from 12 year old barrels from different warehouses and floors. A total of 120 barrels; 93 barrels matured together on the 4th floor of G warehouse, yielding an extremely spice forward expression. The remaining 27 barrels matured together on the 5th floor of K warehouse contributing a rounding sweetness to the blend. Several barrels from both lots basked in the sun, highlighting the effects of maturation along an external wall.
Barreled on May 27, 2005 – Old Forester 2017 Birthday Bourbon is offered at 96 and 95.4 Proof.
- COLOR: Deep reddish amber.
- NOSE: Complex and cinnamon wood spiced with nutty chocolate, dark caramel and rich oak notes all brightened with a dash of crisp citrus fruit.
- TASTE: Mulled spice sweetness and fruity with bright citrus peel highlights.
- FINISH: Long and warm with mulled fruit character lingering on.