Old Forester



Brown-Forman proudly proclaims Old Forester to be the "First Bottled Bourbon," although some folks note that Philadelphia distiller E.G. Booz, sold bottled whiskey for a brief time prior to 1870. Throughout the 1800's, whiskey was sold in bulk to wholesalers and retailers, and always in barrels to be distributed to saloons and whatnot. The wooden barrels were often branded with a distillery or "brand" name, but not always. As a consequence, some unscrupulous retailers would tamper with barrels or the whiskey itself to further their own interests. 

In 1870, George Garvin Brown, a pharmaceuticals salesman in Louisville, and his half brother, John Thompson Street Brown, began selling "Old Forrester Bourbon Whisky" (perhaps in honor of Dr. William Forrester) in sealed glass bottles to assure quality and prevent tampering. Each bottle was sealed and signed, "This is mine, I guarantee every drop."  During Prohibition (1920-1933), Brown was authorized to continue selling "Old Forrester" for medicinal purposes. That may explain the unpleasant, lingering medicinal taste in today's product (j.k.).

Old Forester

Brown-Forman Distillers Company
86 proof
$20 at ABC in Columbia, SC

Color: Medium amber  

Nose: Very light on the nose.  Corn syrup, apple cider, brown sugar, a hint of rubber, barrel char.

Tasting Notes: Corn, citrus zest, coffee bean, burning leaves, tobacco, assertive woody flavor.  The finish is short, dry, and harsh. 

Overall: C.  Old Forester has an unpleasant flavor profile.  While the nose is soft and sweet, the flavors are rough on the palate and leave a medicinal, lingering finish.  I am not a scotch drinker because it is harsh and overly woody to me.  Old Forester leaves a similar harsh, woody flavor on the palate. I don't mind it in an Old Fashioned.