Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 96 Proof, 48% ABV
Regular readers of our reviews may have noticed we really like Old Forester’s juices, from the complete line we tasted at an amazing whiskey dinner, to Old Forester 1920, one of our favorite new bourbons of the year, The Statesmen, and the 2015 Birthday Bourbon. Unfortunately, when we tasted the 2017 Birthday Bourbon at the whiskey dinner, we’d already had five other bourbons before it—so the review notes were wildly erratic, and frankly nonsense (we’re sorry, but it was a lot of good whiskey). Luckily the club where we regularly celebrate Whiskey Wednesday had another bottle of this year’s Birthday sauce on tap so we got a second chance to right the record. Happy Birthday to us.
First off from the freshly opened bottle was a heavy hit of acetone, followed by more friendly cherry, caramel and lots of wood.
With this first pour from a fresh bottle (we typically like to taste purely for pleasure a couple of times and let the whiskey breath in the bottle before subjecting it to review) there was a strong hit of bitterness right off the bat that comes from the 12 years of maturing. The flavors lingered on the lips. Most surprised by a lack of burn for the 96 proof. The flavors later revealed baking spices, and with more of a chance to breathe, it hit a sweet spot filled with cherries and buttercream frosting. Happy happy birthday. In our opnion, this year is better than 2015 Birthday Bourbon, which had even more acetone—which does fade out with time. We pondered the thought that you could possibly replicate this Birthday Bourbon with selective blending of all the other Old Foresters when the bottle runs dry. This is one of the best, most unique bottle designs—it’s a shame to let it sit empty.