Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2014)


George Garvin Brown was a Kentucky pharmaceutical salesman who, in 1870, began bottling whiskey- a very rare practice at the time- in an effort to ensure the quality of his product.  The distillery that bears his name today, Brown-Forman, produces Old Forester, an unpleasant, 86 proof bottom-shelfer, Old Forester Signature, a smoother 100 proofer, a group of bourbons known as the "Whiskey Row Series" which includes Old Forester 1870 Original Batch, a Single Barrel release, and a Mint Julep flavored bourbon. 

Each September, to commemorate Brown's birthday, Brown-Forman Distillery releases a single day's worth of 12 year old, 97 proof bourbon.  The Old Forester Birthday Bourbon line has been around since 2002, and some releases have wowed the world (e.g. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013) and some have been met with less enthusiasm.

The September 2, 2014 release, like many limited edition super-premium bourbons, is extremely difficult to find in the wild.  As a result, we went to "Bourbon" in Columbia, SC and helped them make some room on the shelf.

This tasting was not conducted in the controlled environment we prefer, so take the review with a grain of salt, a waft of cheeseburger, and a crowd of hipsters and yuppies.


Old Forester Birthday Bourbon (2014)

Brown-Forman
97 proof
$59 MSRP; $25/oz. at Bourbon, Columbia, SC

Color: You certainly cannot tell from the photo above, but the whiskey is a deep, rich amber in the glass.

Nose: Big, sweet nose.  Burnt sugars, smoky oak, maple syrup, fresh mint, lemon zest. 

Tasting Notes: OFBB 2014 has a decadent and rich mouth feel.  The first sip presents classic caramel and vanilla flavors, which give way to gingerbread and nutmeg spice.  The finish was shorter than I'd prefer but it's a nice balance of the sweetness and oak.    

Overall: A.  I sipped the 2014 Birthday Bourbon after a sipping on some other amazing bourbon whiskeys.  Believe it or not, it provided a better experience than the Jefferson's Presidential Select 18 Year, which commands much steeper prices.  We were extremely impressed.