Bourbon - Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2005
Brown Foreman Distillery - (Louisville, Kentucky)
Grain - Corn (at least 51%) Rye (20%?), Barley 10 %
PROOF: 96 (48%)
AGE: 12 Years
TYPE: Small Batch (15 Barrels distilled at one time)
PRICE: $ 35.00 - 750 ML
Notes: This Bourbon much like its founder is iconoclastic and in some ways hard to define easily. This was the first bourbon to be bottled. Prior to this every bourbon was shipped in barrels then poured into decanters (usually engraved) and set out in the bar. There was no way to guarantee as to what was being poured into the bar decanter. This whisky comes in several incarnations - 100 proof, the 86 proof version, and this one, the Birthday Bourbon series (a limited release version released every Sept 2 to commemorate George Gavin Browns birthday).This one was distlled in 1993 and bottled in 2005.
Appearance: Bronze/sienna reddish color (older whisky has more of a red shift in the color). Corn,vanilla, toffee and cocoa notes on nosing. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whisky on swirling, almost no legs.
First Impression: More dark fruit notes than some of the other expressions of Old Forester but still an overwhelming pepper from the oak. A drier, leaner corn smell to it than the others also. Lots of oak influence on the whisky both in color and smell.
Taste: Corn and oak with not a lot of sweetness to it. Vanilla and oak come out from the oak barrels. Citrus and fruity notes are less present than the 100 proof version more caramel and toast. A slightly paradoxical mix of mint and maple with fruit notes Fair amount of burn as it goes down. Finish is slightly longer than the 100 proof but light, and a bit astringent towards the end. A bit rough for my personal taste but a good example of an older style of bourbon.
Drinks: We tried it in a Manhattan and the results were completely different from the younger 100 proof version. It makes a very nice somewhat spicy Manhattan and Old Fashioned. Also works well in other bourbon drinks.
Cigars:Yes, works well with mild to full bodied cigars.
Final Thoughts: If you like it rough (but not too rough) this one is for you. Classic bourbon whisky of the old spare style. A good solid value for the money and cheaper than most of the fancier bourbons of similar vintage and the packaging (bottle) makes for a nice presentation for the holidays.
Bottle: The is a special decanter bottle with attractive silk screened labels. Similar to the kind you see on boats. Attractive and hard to tip over if you are having a little too much fun or on a boat in a storm (or both).
Web site: http://www.oldforester.com
Fast loading after getting past the annoying Date of Birth screen. (OK, it helps them gather some demographics, but I always wonder those sites do with the information). Decent information and good pictures the different whiskies and some basic recipes. I particularly like the tasting information and printable tasting/evaluation notes - very nice- I highly recommend printing them down and using them for people starting to taste any spirits.