Old Forester Birthday Bourbon
After reading through Jason Pyle’s review of this of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon I knew I had to try some. So I went on a mission around Nashville to try and find a bottle. I went to all the usual spots I hit and I kept striking out. So finally I went online and looked at the distributors website to see who all the distributed to. I found a small liquor store across the street from the big one that I go to. I saw online that they carried a lot of the craft hard to find bourbons and whiskies there, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
I walked in and there was no one to be seen. This store had a ton of selection of wines. Just rows and rows of wine. Then I finally found the bourbon section over on the side. I was glancing up and down and then all of a sudden I saw a bottle of Old Forester that I had never seen before. So I reached down to pick it up and at the bottle it said “Birthday Bourbon”! I was so pumped! I grabbed the bottle and practically ran to the checkout line. I’m sure my wife was curious why I was so giddy about a bottle of bourbon. I’m not even sure if I’ll like it, but you know it is when you find a treasure that you’ve been looking for! Well some of you might not be a pirate like me, because I go around looking for treasure all the time and rarely find it.
So, why is this bourbon so special? Well to start off this bourbon is a limited edition release every year to commemorate George Garvin Brown’s birthday on September 2nd. This 2013 bottle is the 12th year that they’ve released this bourbon. The master distiller Chris Morris selects bourbon from a single day of production at the plant and designates that for the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon expression. It’s an excellent tradition that Old Forester has started and I’m I can participate in it this year. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard about this bourbon and I was so glad that I was able to find a bottle and it wasn’t unreasonably priced. So let’s get into the review and see what we have going on!
First off we’re going to take a look at the bottle of this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. It has a beautiful looking decanter style bottle. According to their website they used this bottle to pay homage to the way Old Forest used to be produced back in the 1800’s. I personally love the way this bottle looks. I like the short and squatty bottle. There is a rather plump cork at the end of the bottle neck as well that kind of sets this bourbon apart. I’m glad they didn’t go with a plastic screw cap on this release. They know it’s something special and they’re going to give the bottle a little extra love and I’m glad they did so.
They use their Old Forester branding for the main presentation on the bottle, but underneath that they use a nice script font for the “Birthday Bourbon”. There is also a 12 year stamp on the top edge of the main bulb of the bottle. Not sure if that accurately describes what I’m looking at, but it’ll have to suffice.
The rich amber color coming through the glass of this bottle is beautiful. I love how the light shines through and really makes this bottle glow. Well I think that’s enough about how the bottle and bourbon look. Let’s get into the actual flavors that this thing has to offer and see what’s so special about this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon and why everyone goes so crazy about it.
One thing that I’ve been picking up lately is that at soon as you open up a bottle the aroma of alcohol just rushes out. Now to some that might seem obvious, but I guess it’s just collecting at the top of the bottle waiting to be released? So, I’ve started opening the bottle letting it air out for about 10 minutes before I pour my first glass. I feel like that gives it ample time to let all the built up vapors escape and lets the spirit aerate some.
The first thing I pick up is a ton of vanilla! There are some hints of caramel as well, these are the notes that I expected with it being a bourbon. Obviously they are the first things I’m going to be able to pick out. I’m trying to dig a little deeper and really pull out some unique notes as well. The most unique note that I picked up was a very dark fruit. Very sweet smelling fruit, I’ve heard some people say they can pick up dried bananas on this nose. Personally, I never get that. What I mean when I say dark fruit is that it’s not citrusy and kind of tangy. It’s that deep sweet that has a lot of character to it. It’s not like a caramel or molasses. It’s definitely a fruit but there is something very full about the flavor. That’s the best that I can really describe it.
On the palate of this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon I picked up quite a few flavors. You get the traditional sweet caramel notes of bourbon. There is a nice overall spice that hits as well. It really sits down on your tongue and coats it. One of the unique flavors that I picked up reminded me a lot of cloves. It was fairly mellow overall though. The spice wasn’t too overpowering and there was enough sweetness to really round out the entire flavor profile. I did pick up some slight hints of nut as well. So I’d be interested to see how this pairs with an Nicaraguan cigar. I think the spices and nutty flavors could work really well together. I might have to cut down this bourbon with some water though so it doesn’t overpower the cigar.
The finish on this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is excellent. It’s very smooth and has a nice mouth coating. It brings that typical bourbon heat with it, but it’s quite enjoyable and not overpowering. I was afraid that it might come off too hot being that it’s 49% abv! I would say this is a very well rounded finish that is easily enjoyable.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon: 9/10
I really enjoyed this bourbon all around. I’m glad I was able to track down a bottle and taste it before someone bought them all and stockpiled it for themselves. Now that I’m more in the know about some of these special bourbons and whiskies I’m trying to keep an eye and an ear out about them so I can track them down around town. This bourbon in particular is a very cool limited edition that pays a nice homage to a great industry legend. So I was glad I could I got to try it. If you’re able to track down a bottle of this Old Forester Birthday Bourbon go ahead and pick it up. I doubt you’ll be disappointed with it.