- DISTILLER: Old Forester
- MASH BILL: 72% Corn | 18% Rye | 10% Malted Barley
- AGE: 6 Summers
- YEAR: 2018
- PROOF: 100-120 depending on releases (my press sample was 111 proof/55.5% ABV)
- MSRP: $89.99
- BUY ONLINE: Sorry, only available for purchase at the distillery.
NOSE: Alcohol sting wrapped in front-loaded fruit, cantaloupe, overripe pineapple | 10 minute rest gives way to oak and grain | adding water frees esters, bubble gum, cotton candy, confectioner’s sugar and wet limestone minerality
TASTE: Entry is hot, but fun | surprising abundance of leather, fire-cured tobacco backed by maple sugar and horehound candies | caramel and milk chocolate round it out | second sip is still hot but pleasantly aggressive | sawn lumber and toasted grain enter the fray |water boosts viscosity while amplifying oak and revealing some orange and caramel, and more horse tack
FINISH: Mouth tingling throughout, but pleasant | mild burn to the end, yet it’s fun to be reminded that you’re drinking strong whiskey | neat fans will enjoy it
SHARE WITH: Bourbon and rye fans
WORTH THE PRICE: Yes, even at $89. At $50 to $60 higher than the fare for most daily drinkers—but only $30 more than 1920 Prohibition (a 115-proof palate pounder I love), it’s still worth spending the extra $39 on a President’s Choice.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: It’s a distillery-only buy, so a bottle will be harder to get, but get it if you can.
OVERALL: I think this is a great starter bourbon with something to keep you coming back for more. Not quite the sweet spot of flavors that I gravitate towards but a good one to get started or to enjoy on a hot summer day with friends.The President’s Choice selection was officially introduced in 1946 by George Garvin Brown II, who picked each barrel himself. The product was chosen by Brown until his death in 1969; stocks chosen by Brown were gone by 1972. I don’t recall the particulars of a President’s Choice shared with a crowd at the first Kentucky Bourbon Affair a few years ago, but it was from the 1960s and an absolute powerhouse on the palate. Suffice it to say, I was excited to hear current president Campbell Brown would resurrect this product. This release stands out as truly unique within the Old Forester stable. Sure, it’s the same DNA as all Old Forester products, but the leather and tobacco aligns it with Wild Turkey, which is revered for those flavors. Still, it’s unmistakably Old Forester, which, to my liking, is always a good thing.
The President’s Choice was historically, and is today, driven by the palate of Old Forester’s current President. Each barrel in the modern iteration is hand-selected by Campbell Brown, Old Forester president and fifth generation Brown family member, under the guidance of Master Taster, Jackie Zykan. Because The President’s Choice expressions are hand selected barrels which have showcased exceptional character and represent the foremost quality the Old Forester brand has to offer, they will be released only when such distinct barrels come of maturity and reach exceptional taste profile.
Disclaimer: Old Forester provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.