Old style, slightly rough and young tasting. Decent and cheap enough for the money.
Notes: This bourbon, much like its founder, is iconoclastic and in some ways hard to easily define. 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 Birthday Bourbon series (a limited release version out twice a year,) and this one, the 86 proof version. There is also an Old Forester Rye that has been revived after a 40 year hiatus that I reccomend as one of the best ryes out there!
Appearance: Bronze/gold color – a younger whisky than some we have tried recently (older whisky has more of a red shift in the color). Caramel and cocoa notes on nosing. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whisky on swirling, some legs.
First Impression: More vanilla and fruit notes than the 100 proof version malt and chocolate notes to it. Lots of oak influence on the whisky both in color and smell.
Taste: Rye, oak and some sweetness to it. Vanilla and caramel come out from the oak barrels. Citrus and fruity notes are more present than the 100 proof version – probably the malt influence. 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 rather simple and uncomplicated whisky of decent quality.
Drinks: We tried it in a Manhattan and the consensus was. . . maybe. The spiciness and sweetness make a bit of difference over the 100 proof. As to other drinks – good for a casual highball or other uncomplicated drinks. You will need to experiment and adjust recipes if you are used to using a sweeter, heavier bodied bourbon.
Cigars: Yes, works well with a milder cigar.
Final Thoughts: Youngish with rough edges – old style If you like your whisky in the style of Jack Daniels (I know it’s Tennessee. . .) and better than Jim Beam, you will like it. A good solid value for the money. A different version (somewhat) over the 100 – no diluting down the 100 does not yield the same results.
Bottle: The bottle has had a major makeover recently – gone is clear plastic label that was applied to a new shorter, rounder bottle. They have returned to the old paper label in the front – I personally like the old look and feel of the traditional old bottle – it is a nice holdover and in style with the whisky it contains – very glad they rolled back the design from that early 2000’s mod look!
Web site: http://www.oldforester.com
Fast loading after getting past the annoying date-of-birth screen (okay, it helps them gather some demographics, but I always wonder those sites do with the information). Decent information and good pictures of 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.